The next CAMA Masterseries concert — 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Lobero Theater — will be a recital by the pianist-composer-painter Sir Stephen Hough.
CAMA has this to say about Sir Stephen:
“One of the most distinctive artists of his generation and a longtime CAMA favorite, Sir Stephen Hough is a true Renaissance man, combining a distinguished international career as a pianist with those of composer, writer, and painter.
“Named by The Economist as one of ‘Twenty Living Polymaths’ (a person of great learning and varied expertise), he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2022, and was the first classical performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (‘Genius Grant’) in 2001.
“Sir Stephen brings his trademark eloquence and precision to what will be his fifth Masterseries recital appearance at the Lobero, with music by composers close to his heart.”
Sir Stephen’s Program includes:
Frederico Mompou‘s “Cants màgics” (1920); Claude Debussy‘s “Estampes, L.100” (1903)’ Alexander Scriabin‘s “Piano Sonata No. 5, Opus 53” (1907); Stephen Hough’s “Partita” (2019); and Franz Liszt‘s “Petrarch Sonnets 47, 104, and 123, from the Italian Book of Années de pèlerinage” (1846) and his “Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata (‘Dante Sonata’).”
This is a high-end pianistic program, and most of the composers represented — if not their particular works — will be familiar to the connoisseurs who make up the CAMA base.
I generally find most of the pieces in Liszt’s “Years of Pilgrimage” sets to be utterly baffling, if not downright tedious, but this censure in no way applies to the Petrarch sonatas, which are sublime.
The Spanish composer Frederico Mompou (1893-1987) was born in Barcelona, to a Spanish father and French mother.
When he was nine, Frederico attended, in his hometown, a recital by Gabriel Fauré, and decided, then and there, that he would follow wherever that gleaming and elegant Gallic master led.
He studied with Pedro Serra (piano) at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona, before moving on to the Conservatoire de Paris —then under the direction of his hero, Gabriel Fauré.
Mompou did not actually study with Fauré, and it is not clear whether they even met. Mompou went to Paris carrying a letter of introduction to Fauré from Enrique Granados, but it apparently didn’t make it into Fauré’s hands.
At the Conservatoire, he studied with Isidor Philipp, head of the piano department, took private piano lessons with Ferdinand Motte-Lacroix, and studied harmony and composition with Marcel Samuel-Rousseau.
His extreme shyness and self-effacement precluded a career in the concert hall, and he put all of his energy into composing. His music sounds way more French than Spanish, and Germanic not at all, but his delicacy and sense of form make him always a pleasure to hear.”
“Cants Magics” is his first published work, but he had been composing mature works for at least a decade before that, and many of these were subsequently published.
Tickets to Sir Stephen Hough are $48-$58 and they are selling fast. Go to the Lobero website and click on the “Buy Tickets” button inside the “Sir Stephen Hough” space. Or you can call the Lobero, 805-963-0761.