Stephen Hough's recent forays with Hyperion have brought us into intimate contact with his refined artistry and panache as an interpreter. This well-filled disc includes some rare but very entertaining pieces from a motley collection of English composers.
Alan Rawsthorne's short Bagatelles are a delight to listen to whilst Stephen Reynold's aptly titled "Homage to Delius" are ravishingly beautiful with Serenade and Dance of Spring a mite more moving than the Rustic Idyll. Stephen Hough's own Valse Enigmatiques are also beautifully played, whilst Elgar's "In Smyrna" holds the key to a nostalgic past. Reynold's returns with his "Homage to Fauré", another two serene pieces that reveal an admirable sensitivity of touch and clarity.
York Bowen is well represented by three beautiful works, "Reverie d'Amour", "Serious Dance" and "The Way to Polden", all characteristically played by Hough who finds just the right balance between technical skill and poetic imagery. Two short yet purposeful pieces by Frank Bridge then herald Leighton's majestic "Six Studies', a rambunctious set of theme and variations that are imbued with wonderful imagery.
Hough's captivating performance is indeed the icing on the cake. Yet another treasure trove of piano music from the Hyperion stable.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech