This week’s installment of Spine Tinglers comes courtesy of English pianist Stephen Hough. He’s playing a concert in Manchester on 14th April at the RNCM and coming to NYC at the end of this month with a cracking program of Mendelssohn, Webern and Beethoven and a whole load of lovely Romantic dances in the second half.
“It is time someone designed the ‘Rachmaninoff collar’ – one tailored low enough to allow hairs to rise on the back on the neck unimpeded, because such follicle stimulation is a common occurrence when listening to or performing his music.
However I had a heightened experience when recording the 4th piano concerto in live concerts a couple of years ago in Dallas. It is one of his least well-known works but most personal and revealing. In the slow movement, towards the end, there is a string of scales in sequence forming the simplest melody, but it is a haunting moment of incomparable magic.
On two of the three concert nights I found tears forming in my eyes when I arrived at that section. As my fingers pressed down the keys it was as if Rachmaninoff himself was beckoning me to another world – a world which was tragic and private, yet tender and compassionate too.”
Any thoughts on what format this Rachmaninoff collar could possibly take? A Mussel shirt, perhaps?