Stephen Hough: Dvorak and Schumann – Piano Concertos

Dvorak: Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 33
Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

 

Stephen Hough is one of the best concert pianists of our generation.

A new record from the maestro includes the little played Antonín Dvořák piano concerto that is slowly making its way back into the repertoire, coupled with the more familiar Schumann piano concerto. Just a snippet of the new Hough recording below, with the full concerto played by Gerhard Oppitz in a wonderful performance of this fiendishly difficult piece of music (1999).

A different and more lyrical interpretation by the virtuoso Sviatoslav Richter follows with the German Carlos Kleiber conducting (no identification of the orchestra). One of the most formidable pianists that has ever lived… his delicacy of touch is such a joy to hear!

 

 

Dvořák and Schumann – Piano Concertos – Stephen Hough (piano), CBSO and Andris Nelsons (conductor)

Dvořák & Schumann
Piano Concertos
Stephen Hough (piano)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons (conductor)

Featured extracts
Piano Concerto in G minor Op 33 [40’49] Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
1- Allegro agitato [20’13]
3- Allegro con fuoco [11’47]

Piano Concerto in A minor Op 54 [32’21] Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
4- Allegro affettuoso [15’42]
6- Allegro vivace [11’12]

 

“Although it may be something of a cliché to say that Hough makes all of the cruelly demanding writing sound effortless, it is most certainly true in this case! Hough’s passagework is a model of clarity, never overpedalled, and you can really hear all of the intricacies and rhythmic quirks of Dvořák’s writing. The contribution from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra should in no way be underestimated either: thanks to Andris Nelsons’s sensitive and sympathetic conducting, they produce a lovely hushed tone when required, with silky strings and characterful woodwind, and I constantly felt that everyone involved had exactly the same focus and artistic goals; every single bar feels just right in terms of balance and intent. The criticism I mentioned earlier about the piano being too integrated with the orchestra is here turned into a major virtue, with this sense of close collaboration coming across so marvellously at every turn.”

Anon. “Stephen Hough plays piano concertos by Dvořák and Schumann,” on Presto News 1st April 2016

 

 

Antonín DVORAK: Piano Concerto in G minor, Op.33, B.63 (1876)
0:35 / I. Allegro agitato (16:38 Cadenza)
19:20 / II. Andante sostenuto
28:24 / III. Allegro con fuoco
(38:35 applause)
Gerhard Oppitz, piano
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI
Zdeněc Mácal, conductor
(PAL 4:3 – live, Auditorium RAI “G.Agnelli”, Torino, 27 June 1999)
HQ audio remaster: Emilio Pessina, 2015

 

 

Dvořák Piano Concerto in G minor Op.33, Sviatoslav Richter

Published on May 28, 2014

1. Allegro agitato 0:00
2. Andante sostenuto 18:27
3. Allegro con fuoco 27:18

 

“I absolutely cherish this recording, if not only because it features two of my favorite musical titans of all time – Richter and Kleiber. The two had enormous respect for each other’s music making, (which is not a daily occurrence given their individual temperament, especially Richter’s.) According to Richter’s personal journal, during the recording session, they both were rather tense and concentrated too hard on the music that the piece “suddenly lost its freshness”. Of course, that is to hold the performance against his almost impossible golden standard. To us listeners, this is every bit as revelatory as the piece can get.”

Hanzhang Liu

 

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