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Stephen Hough in Recital: Chopin, Debussy, Hough

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by Jennifer (subscribe)
Born in the tropics. Currently residing in Melbourne. Lover of food, travel, hip hop and everything that sparkles. Visit my blog at
Published September 30th 2014
An enchanting performance by acclaimed pianist Stephen Hough

For about an hour and a half, the audience at the Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash University experienced a pure delight. Stephen Hough, whose reputation precedes him, dazzled the audience with pieces composed by Debussy and Chopin. Famous composer and celebrated writer, award winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and appointed CBE in the 2014 New Year's Honours, Stephen Hough is a man of many talents.

Stephen Hough in Recital, Monash University Academy of Performing Arts
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The recital began with Debussy's Waltz La plus que lente which means 'even slower'. Hough then invited the audience to travel with Debussy's piano suite Estampes. Through Pagodes, which evokes the shape of a pagoda roof, Debussy pays homage to Javanese Gamelan music. The second movement of Estampes, Evening in Granada is an ode to traditional Spanish dance. Finally, Gardens in the Rain, the final movement of Estampes, captures the world of childhood with two French folk melodies. Hough's precise execution of Estampes, brought vivid imagery of beautiful and faraway lands to mind and was truly the highlight of the night for me. By the rapturous applause heard in the auditorium afterwards, I can deduct that other members of the audience were also highly appreciative of Hough's rendition of Estampes. Proceeding to Chopin's Ballade No.2 in F major,Op.38 and Ballade No.1 in G minor, Op.23, Hough wowed the already delighted audience.

The second half of the recital began with Chopin's Ballade No.3 in A flat major and Ballade No 4 in F minor. Hough went on to play Debussy's Children Corner, a piano suite Debussy composed and which he dedicated to his daughter Claude-Emma Debussy also known as Chouchou.

The pianist ended with the beautiful L'isle Joyeuse or Isle of Joy by Debussy in reference to the island of Jersey where he ran off with his mistress Emma Bardac after having sent his wife Lilly to visit her parents. Hough's colourful, vibrant and articulate interpretation of L'isle Joyeuse made this arduous piece seem like a piece of cake.

Monash University Academy of Performing Arts is to be commended for inviting Hough to Melbourne and offering such a special treat to music lovers.
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*Jennifer was invited as a guest
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When: Tuesday 23 September 7:30 PM
Where: Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University
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