Stephen Hough's Dream Album

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Hyperion CDA68176 (80:03)

Cheshire-born Stephen Hough is high in the crowded international pantheon of outstanding concert pianists. His latest album is a real winner: - no fewer than 27 tracks of personal favourites, including his own transcriptions and variations on well-known classics.

All display the supreme musicianship that is the hallmark of his playing, this time on a Yamaha CFX instrument. For the opening track, Radetzky Waltz, Hough has added a beat to every bar of Johann Strauss’s Radetzky March and turned the military parade ground into a ballroom. And further on the traditional Waltzing Matilda becomes Matilda’s Rhumba.

Other tasty tracks include the popular Moscow Nights, By The Sleepy Lagoon, [Eric Coates signature tune for the 76-year-old Radio 4 programme ‘Desert Island Discs’], the Edwardian parlour song Somewhere A Voice Is Calling, Dvořák’s Humoresque, Elgar’s Salut d’Amour, Blow The Wind Southerly, [made famous by Kathleen Ferrier], pieces by Albéniz, Liszt, Sibelius, and four composed by Hough himself. He also provides succinct programme notes on every work.

The duration of the CD again puts to shame the “big boys” of the industry with their albums of sometimes under an hour. This is a delightful recording that will bear repeated listening either on disc or download.

Peter Burt © 2018

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