English pianist Stephen Hough believes Brahms' Second Piano Concerto is a perfect balance of intellect and emotion. At the same time, he says, it's very difficult to play.
According to Hough, Brahms' Second is physically demanding. It's also frequently misunderstood because, he says, performers ignore the concerto's architecture. He says too often the third movement is played twice as slowly as Brahms' tempo markings indicate, and that upsets the emotional impact.
In advance of this week's performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, Hough spoke with Minnesota Public Radio's Brian Newhouse about the challenges of playing Brahms' Second Piano Concerto.