On Sunday, 1st July I attended Stephen Hough’s recital, last of the four-night Singapore Piano Festival 2012. The programme comprised four piano sonatas:
- Beethoven, Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2;
- Hough, Sonata for Piano (Broken Branches);
- Scriabin, Sonata No. 5;
- Liszt, Sonata in B minor.
The Liszt came after the intermission.
I wasn’t going to attend but decided to on impulse, managed to snag a good seat in the first row of the circle in the concert hall of the School of the Arts. And I’m glad I did. Tremendous virtuosity and, more importantly, musicianship. The Liszt was gut-wrenching and electrifying.
Stephen has a sort of fan club here in Singapore, and it organized dinner with him on each night of the piano festival. After the recitals of course. I attended the dinner held after his recital, along with friends Wei Zheng, Lynnette, and Pei Sian. I’d never met Stephen before, but I’m glad I did. He is a humble, down-to-earth and unassuming person (and a bit of a polymath). He’d fail miserably as a prima donna!
So here’s the thing. With any luck, at some point in time before Stephen’s next scheduled performance in Singapore in May 2013, he will come to my home to play some chamber music with Lynnette and Pei Sian. Lynnette is of course co-leader of the SSO, while Pei Sian is principal cellist.