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Schubert: Sonatas D 960, D 784, D 613 / Stephen Hough

Album Summary

>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in A minor, D 784/Op. 143
>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960
>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano no 10 in C major (fragment), D. 613
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'This is, quite simply, some of the most beautiful Schubert I have heard in years, or (why not come out and say it?) ever. Irresistible. That is, indeed, the word for everything about this superb release... a musician capable of the greatest things ... a performance that ranks with the most celebrated classic and modern versions in or out of the catalogs' (Fanfare, USA)

'Poetic, imaginative, deeply felt and keenly thought... a deeply loving treatment of the piano in performances of exceptional refinement' (The Piano)

'Any pianist who records Schubert must be sure of his ground. Stephen Hough here proves himself a worthy rival' (The Sunday Times)

'It is obvious that Hough identifies deeply with this music... he is temperamentally attuned to its urgent lyricism and, sometimes, heartrendering pathos ... lush tone, subtle pedalling, and a firm grasp of structure' (American Record Guide)

'[D784] the pulsing triples... haunt the memory, as does the floating treatment of the lyrical subject in the finale' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Hough keeps listeners' attention through the musical equivalent of whispering... a tribute to his elegant legato touch and phrasing as natural and unforced as breathing ... Hough's supernal playing and matchless poise make this album an unmitigated success' (CD Now)

'always thoughtful, in places transcendent' (Classic CD)

'His moving performance of the B flat Sonata, marked throughout by refined, discerning pianism and an uncommonly subtle ear for texture ... Hough seeks out the music's inwardness and fragility, its ethereal, self ... communing remoteness ... [D784] magnificently done... the lyrical music is limpidly coloured and poignantly inflected Hough's individual and searching reading of the two great sonatas... take their place alongside the most recommendable in the catalogue' (Gramophone)

'[Hough] combines the imagination and pianistic colour of the past with the scholarship of the present, illuminating the very essence of the music he plays ... a performance of extraordinary depth and beauty' (Pretoria News)

'(A Minor D.784) especially sensitive in its uncertain switching between laughter and tears, a typically Schubertian trait reflected in Hough's outstandingly delicate touch and his natural phrasing ... These are profoundly musical and deeply thought-out performances' (Sunday Telegraph)

'Stephen Hough has made his name in the post-Romantic repertoire, exploring rarely-known works of interest .... Here in a more familiar repertoire he works wonders through an approach which is particularly sensitive and intelligent. His accompanying notes are particularly valuable.... ' (Répertoire, France)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Stephen Hough's moving performance of D960 is marked throughout by refined, discerning pianism and an uncommonly subtle ear for texture. In all four movements, he seeks out the music's inwardness and fragility, its ethereal, self-communing remoteness. The opening Molto moderato, unfolding in vast, calm spans, has a hypnotic inevitability; there are countless felicities of timing and colour, but always a vital sense of forward motion. Hough adopts a dangerously slow tempo in the Andante but sustains it through the breadth and concentration of his line, the subtlety of his tonal palette and his pointing of rhythmic detail. His rarefied grace and delicacy, his gentle probing of the music's vulnerability, are of a piece with his conception of the sonata as a whole.

As usual, Hyperion doesn't stint over playing time, offering another complete sonata in addition to the two-movement fragment, D613. D784, perhaps Schubert's most depressive instrumental work, is magnificently done.

Hough distils an immense weight of suffering from the pervasive two-note motif that dominates the first movement like some massive, Wagnerian pendulum; but, typically, the lyrical music is limpidly coloured and poignantly inflected, with an unusually precise observation of Schubert's accents. The Andante is flowing and long-arched, with some ravishing soft play- ing, and he a brings a superb rhythmic impulse to the eerily scudding counterpoint of the main subject and a piercing tenderness to the contrasting F major theme. The fragmentary C major Sonata, D613, one of numerous Schubert torsos from the years 1817-22, is no great shakes: two pleasant but uneventful movements, both incomplete. The recording is of exemplary clarity, warmth and truthfulness.



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Works Details

>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in A minor, D 784/Op. 143
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 02/1823

>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, England (10/04/1998-10/05/1998)
  • Running Time: 43 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 09/1828

>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano no 10 in C major (fragment), D. 613
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, England (10/04/1998-10/05/1998)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 04/1818