Sometimes the most magical moment in a Stephen Hough concert is when he plays a jewel-like encore - delightful, enchanting, performed with finesse and affection. In this recital, Debussy provides an element of that. There's hisChildren's Corner suite (Serenade of the Doll, Golliwogg's Cakewalk�), impressions of a slow waltz, postcard sketches from exotic places, and a fleeting - but terrifying for the pianist! ?- journey to the island where Venus was born.
Debussy's miniatures frame the poetry of Chopin's four ballades, sitting at the heart of the program. Like sung ballads, they tell musical stories, each gentle beginning swelling to tumultuous shifts of emotion. It's easy to think of Chopin's music as ethereal and delicate; the ballades prove he can thunder as powerfully as Liszt when he wants to.
Pre-concert talk by Robert Curry at 6.15 pm in the Reception Room.