A Note-Perfect Pianist’s Memoir

Peter Conrad at The Guardian:

“A writer is God,” says Hough admiringly, thinking of God – he is a Catholic convert – rather than claiming godlike powers for himself. He then quotes the Bible on the word being made flesh as “an idea floating in the air is caught, a concept becomes carnal”. The piano leaves ideas afloat, airily uncatchable: Hough’s book describes “the liquid lasso” of a stone thrown into a pond in Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau, and in the notes to his recent recording of Federico Mompou’s Música Callada he remarks that these brief, whispery religious meditations evaporate as they are played. Defying the monochrome abstraction of the keyboard, Hough always sets himself to make sounds tell stories without words. In his reimagining, Tippett’s Piano Concerto proceeds from an orchestral rumbling “under the soil of the earth to the tinkle of arpeggios tracing a delicate tune above the treetops”.

more here.