Tsontakis: Man of Sorrows; Berg: Piano Sonata; Webern: Variations

Tsontakis: Man of Sorrows; Berg: Piano Sonata; Webern: Variations

Stephen Hough (piano), Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton (conductor)


Fresh from his conducting debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the premiere of his cello concerto and the publication of his first book, Stephen Hough presents a new disc of fascinating repertoire.

George Tsontakis is a giant of the American contemporary music scene and the recent winner of the prestigious Grawemeyer award and the Charles Ives Living. Hough’s recording of his Ghost Variations for Hyperion (CDA67005) was nominated for a Grammy. Man of Sorrows was written for Stephen Hough and was premiered in 2005. This recording is taken from the world premiere. The work demonstrates Tsontakis’ muscular, expressive musical language, influenced by Beethoven and Messiaen. Inspired by medieval Byzantine icons of Christ, the Man of Sorrows, the six-movement work explores in sound the composer’s response to the suffering and passion of Jesus as represented in these serene religious artworks. Hough himself has also written and spoken extensively on the relationship between religion and music and performs the work with extraordinary sympathy and understanding.

George Tsontakis writes of his work: ‘By the time I began composing Man of Sorrows, I knew several things about it: that it would be cast in a religious dynamic and complexity, that Beethoven’s 33 ‘Diabelli’ Variations would play a part, that it would not be so much a ‘concerto’ as a tone poem for piano and orchestra with an abstract narrative, that it would be large-scale and that it would be dedicated to Stephen Hough, in essence and in spirit.’

This disc also includes iconic works from the Second Viennese School and a further piano work by Tsontakis.

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