Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A Superb Recitial by Superstar Pianist Stephen Hough

International superstar pianist Stephen Hough brought his special brand of genius to the stage at Spivey Hall for a Saturday afternoon recital. Hough is known for his technical mastery, refined musical expression, and diverse repertoire; all three were on display in this wonderful concert event.

The program began with a work by a little-known composer, Federico Mompou (1893-1987). Mompou was trained in piano at the Paris Conservatory under Gabriel Faure. Being a shy man, he limited his career to composition and only played in small private salon-like settings. Many of his works were unknown until his widow found a large collection in his files. Hough played Mompou’s first published work Magical Songs, a work with a clear stylistic lineage from Faure, as well as Debussy. It is an introspective and reflective work that incorporates his memories of the sounds of bells from his father’s bell factory. Hough played with his usual strong sense of phrasing and tonal color.

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