Pianist Stephen Hough can’t stop talking about fire. He treats each aspect of his creative life as a furnace – with all of his many milieu fueling the fire. And when he visited Nashville to perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1, he pointed directly to the repeated expression marking – “con fuoco” – in his conversation with host Colleen Phelps for this episode of Classically Speaking.
Hough is, as The Economist magazine says, a polymath. Outside of piano playing he enjoys writing especially, and in his newest book Rough Ideas the reader can see just how deep and varied Hough’s interests are. The short essays vary from music to visual art, and even ethics and religion.
In addition to his book, Hough has maintained a busy performing schedule. He recently played the same Mendelssohn concerto at the BBC Proms. Interestingly, he played it on Queen Victoria’s piano, which had never before left Buckingham Palace. Hough elaborates on the experience in the full interview, but here is a preview of his encore.