Stephen Hough in the Hobart Mercury
Leo Schofield, Hobart Mercury
Occasionally, very occasionally, Tasmanians are exposed to genuine genius.
Such was the case last Monday when Stephen Hough, one of the greatest pianists currently before the public gave an electrifying recital in the Hobart Town Hall. Hough is usually to be heard in the great concert halls of the world, playing at the BBC Proms in the Albert Hall in London, in Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and at prestigious international music festivals in Edinburgh, Salzburg and Boston.
And here he was far from the fabled music centres of the world in this glorious Victorian jewel of a space in the heart of Hobart, treating his audience to transcendently beautiful pianism.
That formidable Aussie diva Dame Nellie Melba, when asked by fellow singer Dame Clara Butt what she should include in a program for Australian audiences, is reputed to have replied: “Sing ’em muck”. But Hough treated his audience of a couple of hundred local music lovers to the same brilliant interpretations of Beethoven, Liszt and Scriabin as he delivers to the thousands who turn out for him in other venues far from this little island.
It was an unforgettable evening and, had more people be alerted to his presence, the hall would have been packed to the rafters with excess numbers hanging like fruit bats from the shimmering crystal chandeliers.
Artists of this calibre turn up rarely here. It was a privilege to hear him.