Stephen Hough's 'French Album,' A 'Musical Dessert Trolley' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Stephen Hough's 'French Album,' A 'Musical Dessert Trolley'

As with food, as with fashion, as with film, there does seem to be a distinct French style when it comes to composition. The much-heralded English pianist Stephen Hough has been studying what makes a piece of music uniquely French. It's resulted in his latest collection: the French Album.

With works by Debussy, Faure, Poulenc and a number of lesser-known composers, Hough says he considers this new album "a sort of musical dessert trolley."

"There are some impressionist pieces, but it's a kind of romantic impressionism as well," Hough says. "Impressionism we sometimes think as being rather cool somehow and distant. But this is music of a voluptuousness, of that kind of Frenchness: the smell of the French cigarette, the smear of lipstick on the collar and slightly too much perfume, that whole Parisian theme that's so fascinating to us all."

Here, Stephen Hough talks with NPR's Guy Raz about making the French Album, the missing link between Mozart and Chopin, and why he needs to know a composition's back story before he commits to playing it.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

100 Years Ago, 'New Republic' Helped Define Modern Liberalism

Robert Siegel speaks with The New Republic editor Franklin Foer about the new book Insurrections of the Mind, a collection of seminal essays from the magazine's first 100 years.
NPR

Edible Packaging? Retailers Not Quite Ready To Ditch The Wrapper

To reduce waste, some enterprising companies are trying to roll out products that make the package part of the snack — edible packaging. But selling it to the retail market is trickier than it seems.
NPR

Rep. Gowdy To Lead New Benghazi Committee In First Public Hearing

House lawmakers will give the Sept. 11 attacks in Libya two years ago a fresh look. Wednesday's hearing will be the first public one since Gowdy (R-S.C.) became chair of a special Benghazi committee.
NPR

The Kaypro II: An Early Computer With A Writer's Heart

Commentator Andrei Codrescu remembers the first word processor he had — the Kaypro II in the 1980s. Its inventor, Andrew Kay, died Aug. 28, at the age of 95.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.