In the Night

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 00:00


In the Night

Stephen Hough, Robert Schumann, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin



A single disc of night music for piano can only be a tiny slice of the tip of the iceberg. Stephen Hough’s selection opens with the agitation of Schumann’s In der Nacht, but the conceptual starting point seems to be his own 18-minute Second Sonata, notturno luminoso, which, inter alia, is about “the brightness of a brash city in the hours of darkness; the loneliness of pre-morning; sleeplessness and the dull glow of the alarm clock’s unmoving hours”. The sonata’s subtitle links to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, the brash city to Schumann’s not particularly nocturnal Carnaval (I don’t think Hough is suggesting the composer intended the Chiarina and Estrella movements to portray his inamoratas in bed). And Chopin’s Op 27 Nocturnes encompasses both serenity and excitement. All are played with Hough’s customary polish.