Review: Stephen Hough (MCCS)

Category: Music

Marlborough College Concert Series promises to promote 'world-class musicians at affordable prices'. The opening recital of the 2017/18 series provided just that: for just £20 (which included a complimentary glass of Mionetto Prosecco and a free programme) the sell-out capacity audience was treated to some extraordinary artistry from the eminent pianist Stephen Hough.

The concert took place in the Ellis Theatre (all concerts for the remainder of the series will either be in the Ellis Theatre or in Chapel whilst the Memorial Hall undergoes its long-awaited refurbishment) and whilst the acoustic is a little on the dry side it is crystal clear. That clarity further enhanced Hough's meticulous approach: technical brilliance with some fine articulation, matched by immaculate voicing and colouring, and with that, came the magical sense of witnessing an artist of the finest quality at work.  His programme was particularly well chosen. Both halves commenced with a splash of Debussy, and both halves were completed with a heavyweight work by Schumann and Beethoven respectively. The Schumann Fantasie was particularly persuasive as Hough negotiated some of the notoriously tricky passage work with consummate ease and a lightness of touch, ensuring the music was never heavy or over pedalled.

In summary then, this was a superb start to the new season and one which the audience, judging by their hearty and vocal response at the conclusion clearly thoroughly enjoyed.

Philip Dukes

Artistic Director

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