Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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There are no new Hyperion recordings this month; our September releases will be available from Friday 3 September 2021.
Stephen Hough’s sixtieth birthday—which falls later this year—is particular cause for celebration, and it’s a pleasure (and source of great pride for us) to note that for more than twenty-five of those years Stephen has been recording for Hyperion. His first releases—the impossibly lovely Bird Songs at Eventide with Robert White and the multi-award-winning Piano Concertos by Sauer & Scharwenka—date back to 1995; his latest—a wonderful single-composer recital centred around Schumann's Kreisleriana—is due out next month. And if, as Stephen writes below, each recording (how appropriate that word, with its associations of time and testament) bears witness to the effort involved in its making, we hope we can convince him of the immense pleasure the results bring to the listener. We look forward to many more in the years to come.
“Albums stay perpetually young as artists grow older. Catalogues are cruel: columns scrolling effortlessly down as we recall the sweat and tears (I’m not exaggerating) which went into each recording session. The cups of tea, the piano tuners, the squawking birds outside the window, the creaking radiators under the window, the creaking piano bench under the pianist, the stops and starts from first red light to final edited track. My invisible communication with thousands of people across thousands of miles. More than 60 albums recorded now. More than my years. A legacy of vibrations, my DNA frozen in the digital files.”
Stephen Hough's concerto recordings cover an impressive array of composers, from the Scharwenka and Sauer mentioned above, through classics by the likes of Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, to more unusual works by Lowell Liebermann and George Tsontakis. Three have won Gramophone Awards, two of these also being named Recording of the Year.
The solo piano works of Chopin, Brahms and Schubert have, unsurprisingly, played a significant part in Stephen's discography. He has also recorded albums dedicated to the music of York Bowen (part of the earliest re-discovery of this fascinating composer), Federico Mompou, and many others.
Eclectic recital programmes have been a constant throughout Hough's career, from his earliest albums on Virgin Classics through to this year's Vida Breve of which Gramophone magazine wrote: 'To call this a concept album would be to diminish its power and timeliness. It is both a meditation on the fragility of life and a Bergmanesque game of chess with Death, for which Hough has laid out his pieces and pawns in a masterstroke of programming …'
And let us not overlook more intimate collaborative recordings, whether in classics of the chamber repertoire with the Takács Quartet, sonatas performed with Steven Isserlis (the great 'ph' and 'v' duo), or the delicious Edwardian parlour antics mentioned above, and with which Stephen's enduring relationship with Hyperion began.
Here are the most recent new releases from Hyperion …When Angela Hewitt admits to a particular satisfaction with a recording, you know the results are going to be rather special and Love songs—a recital of twenty-three transcriptions for solo piano—is guaranteed a place in listeners' affections. These brilliant transformations of some much-loved originals by, among others, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss and Gershwin offer an abundance of delights, making July's Record of the Month the most seductive of prospects. Critical accolades of Garrick Ohlsson's previous recordings of the composer for Hyperion have recognized 'a born Brahmsian … the muscular strength and facility of finger tempered by breadth of outlook and solidity of intellect' (BBC Music Magazine). These equally distinguished accounts of the first two Brahms Piano Sonatas are every bit as fine, and further demonstrate the resilience of that bond.
As well as being one of the world's leading bassoonists, Laurence Perkins has the knack of devising exceptionally intriguing programmes (and indeed album titles). Voyage of a sea-god showcases his instrument across a wide range of twentieth-century repertoire, in which Bax and Bantock rub shoulders with Richard Rodney Bennett and David Bedford. Participants in the odyssey include pianist Michael Hancock, the Carducci String Quartet, and—in important recordings of works by Maconchy and Panufnik—the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Goodchild.
On Cala Signum Australian Thais presents a programme of new music for saxophone and piano. The HD Duo (Michael Duke on sax and David Howie at the keyboard) performs works by six composers as part of a project exploring musical and cultural connections across the Pacific.
The Choirs of Jesus College Cambridge have joined forces with the Britten Sinfonia to record Grayston Ives's Requiem. This Signum album comes with a fascinating personal note from the composer and is conducted by Richard Pinel, who collaborated with Ives for this charming work's first performance back in 2008.
On LSO Live this month we have a new recording of an old favourite: Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis. This performance—by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano—was captured live at the Barbican in March 2020.
Signum Classics brings us the final instalment in a new Complete Songs of Gabriel Fauré cycle. This four-volume set, masterminded throughout by Malcolm Martineau, has been warmly received by the critics and features a veritable galaxy of fine singers.