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Broken Branches - compositions by Stephen Hough

Composer Stephen Hough
Performer Michael Hasel
Stephen Hough
Jacques Imbrailo
Steven Isserlis
Marion Reinhard
Tapiola Sinfonietta
Gábor Takács-Nagy, conductor
Period Contemporary
Catalogue Number BIS-1952 CD
EAN 7318590019528
Format CD
Release date Nov 2011
Total time 76'40

As the internationally-renowned pianist Stephen Hough writes in his liner notes to this composer portrait, he began composing at the age of six, around the time he began to play the piano. Until the age of twenty he continued to write music, but then, ‘owing to a combination of diminishing time and fading compositional self-confidence’, stopped almost entirely.

Hough describes the closing work on this disc, The Loneliest Wilderness from 2005, as his ‘first serious piece in two decades’, but this has been followed by a steady stream of works, including two Masses. The focus of the present programme, compiled to celebrate the composer's 50th birthday, is on chamber music – with Hough himself appearing in three of the works: the piano sonata broken branches, his settings of five autumnal poems by Rilke sung by the baritone Jacques Imbrailo, and the trio Was mit den Tränen geschieht. The latter work was composed for Michael Hasel and Marion Reinhard of the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, an ensemble with which Hough has collaborated on several occasions, and features the piccolo and the contrabassoon, a striking combination described by the composer as possessing ‘great poignancy: the alienation of two instruments unable to meet on the same pitch.’

The elegiac The Loneliest Wilderness is based on a previous song setting by Hough of a poem by Herbert Read, and again the work was written for a close collaborator of the composer, namely Steven Isserlis who performs it here together with the Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy.
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  Stephen Hough
  Was mit den Tränen geschieht - Trio for piccolo, contrabassoon and piano 13'48
01 1. Lento giusto 5'28
02 2. Allegro brilliante 3'52
03 3. Andante 4'28
  Un Piccolo Sonatina for piccolo solo 6'28
04 1. Allegretto 2'00
05 2. Andante 2'52
06 3. Vivace molto ritmico 1'36
  Bridgewater - Romantic idyll for bassoon and piano
07 Bridgewater 6'22
  Herbstlieder 14'31
08 Herbsttag 3'50
09 Klage 2'51
10 Tränenkrüglein 1'40
11 Bestürz mich, Musik 2'53
12 Herbst 3'17
  Sonata for Piano (broken branches)
13 Prelude (Autumn) – desolato – fragile – inquieto – piangendo – immenso – sentimento – malincolico – passionato – freddo – volando – ritmico – non credo – morendo – crux fidelis – Postlude (Spring) 17'33
  The Loneliest Wilderness
14 Elegy for cello and orchestra 16'09
  Album total 76'40
ComposerHough, Stephen
PiccoloHasel, Michael
ContrabassoonReinhard, Marion
PianoHough, Stephen
CelloIsserlis, Steven
OrchestraTapiola Sinfonietta
ConductorTakács-Nagy, Gábor
BassoonReinhard, Marion

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