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Rough Ideas Reviews

Rough Ideas by Stephen Hough

Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More

Stephen Hough

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Music, Non-fiction
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 1 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9780571350476
  • The GuardianBook of the Day
5 stars out of 5
Peter Stanford
13 Aug 2019

"As in all the best memoirs, he isn’t afraid to tackle uncomfortable or inane questions"

Perhaps, though, the two most impressive things about this renaissance man, to judge by Rough Ideas, are his modesty – the elegant jacket features not the standard “celeb” portrait, but him with his back to us, disguised in anonymous black coat and bowler hat – and a down-to-earth tone that enables him to tackle complex questions about art, faith, morals and life in an unpretentious, everyday way. So, when describing the life of a concert pianist in the series of short, thought-provoking and often amusing “jottings” that make up the book, he doesn’t bother with glamour, big names or his own “gift”, but instead answers the questions that those who have never been to the Proms might ask him.


4 stars out of 5
1 Sep 2019

"Hough successfully walks the high wire between wishing to open up concert halls on the one hand and to maintain artistic integrity on the other. "

Rough Ideas comes at an important time for classical music. In some quarters, the barricades that separate it from society at large are coming down – a result of the London Symphony Orchestra’s outreach programmes, of a mini revolution in Los Angeles led by the conductor Gustavo Dudamel, of refutations of ‘genre’ and of the breaking down of barriers between classical music, jazz and rock. But elsewhere, ticket prices still keep opera houses and concert halls out of reach for most, while audiences remain very white.