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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Stephen Hough, Piano

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Stephen Hough by Sim Canetty-Clarke
Stephen Hough’s “scintillating technique and characteristically sparkling sound” paired with “imaginative intelligence” (The Guardian) make each of his performances gripping affairs. He tests his virtuosity and stamina in passionate storms summoned by Beethoven and Schumann, and draws from a vast palette of tonal colors for the refined and languid music of Debussy.

Part of: Keyboard Virtuosos II


Stephen Hough, Piano


DEBUSSY "Clair de lune" from Suite bergamasque
DEBUSSY Images, Book II
SCHUMANN Fantasy in C Major
DEBUSSY "La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune" from Preludes, Book II
DEBUSSY Images, Book I
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, "Appassionata"

SCHUMANN Posthumous Variation V (Moderato) from Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 (1873 version)
CHOPIN Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

At a Glance

CLAUDE DEBUSSY  “Clair de lune,” from Suite bergamasque; Images, Book II; “La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune,” from Preludes, Book II; Images, Book I

Although Debussy objected to being called an “impressionist,” the aesthetic principles behind much of his music reflect a deep affinity with both the visual arts and early cinema. If the six short pieces that make up his two books of Images can be described as “moving images,” the moonlit soundscapes of Suite bergamasque and the preludes are no less vividly pictorial. Debussy claimed that “it is musicians alone who have the privilege of being able to convey all the poetry of the night and the day,” whereas painters “can recapture only one of her aspects at a time.”


ROBERT SCHUMANN  Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17

Like most of Schumann’s solo piano works of the 1830s, the C-Major Fantasy was a musical valentine to his intended bride, Clara Wieck. The music blends the contrasting personalities of the composer’s fictitious alter egos: the stormy, impulsive Florestan and dreamy, ruminative Eusebius. The young Clara, who was already an acclaimed concert pianist, professed to hear “an entire orchestra” in the Fantasy’s march-like second movement.


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”

Composed from 1804 to 1805, the “Appassionata” Sonata stands alongside Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, three “Razumovsky” string quartets, and other masterpieces of his so-called middle period. As its apocryphal nickname suggests, the sonata is notable for its explosively dramatic character and concentrated economy of expression. The work’s formidable technical challenges reflect Beethoven’s legendary virtuosity at the keyboard.


Stephen Hough, Piano

Stephen Hough is regarded as a Renaissance man of his time. Throughout the course of his career, he has distinguished himself as a true polymath, securing a reputation not only as an insightful pianist, but also as a writer and composer. In 2001, he became the first classical performing artist to receive a MacArthur Fellowship; in 2013, he was named a Commander of the British Empire. He has appeared with most major American and European orchestras, and regularly plays recitals in prominent halls and concert series around the world.

This season, in recital and recording, Mr. Hough celebrates the centennial of Claude Debussy, who died in 1918. In addition to his Carnegie Hall performance, he tours the evening’s program around the world, including to London, Milan, Mumbai, and Paris; and throughout North America, with recitals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Miami, Durham (Duke University), and four stops in Hawaii. Mr. Hough’s first all-Debussy recording—comprising Children’s Corner; Estampes; Images, Books I and II; La plus que lente; and L’isle joyeuse—was released this winter by Hyperion Records, for which he has recorded more than 50 albums.

Additional season highlights include performances with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, New Jersey, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, Utah, and Vancouver; a four-city West Coast tour with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet; and appearances at the BBC Proms and with the Kammerorchester Basel, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, where he is currently artist-in-residence.

Mr. Hough is a respected writer and contributes to BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, The Guardian, and The Times, among other publications. For years, his blog for The Telegraph was one of the most popular and influential forums for cultural discussion. His first novel, The Final Retreat, will be published by Sylph Editions this March. His musical compositions are published by Josef Weinberger Ltd., and he is also an avid and exhibited painter.

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