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Hyperion Records

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Untitled (1953/4) by Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko. DACS. Art Institute of Chicago. www.artic.edu/aic / Photograph by Grant Hiroshima
Track(s) taken from CDA67764
Recording details: May 2009
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: April 2010
Total duration: 25 minutes 44 seconds

'The greater the music here, the more revelatory the playing, especially in a magnificent account of the Polonaise-fantasie … a ticket to a pianistic paradise' (The Mail on Sunday)

'Hough's fingers probe and caress; textures and colours dance and blend with cleansing clarity' (The Times)

'I was won over by the lovely tone and touch, the seductive warmth and clarity of the inner parts and the beautifully judged rubato … it carries ringing conviction' (The Sunday Times)

'A concert grand piano is a thousand-pound machine … the machine sings beautifully on 'Chopin: Late Masterpieces', Stephen Hough's new recording for the Hyperion label … [Third Piano Sonata] Hough's playing of the opening melody suggests that he has thought hard about how it would sound if it were sung by a soprano … I've gone through various canonical Chopin recordings—including account s of the Third Sonata by Cortot, Lipatti and Rubenstein—and found none on which the melody coalesces into such an acutely vocal shape' (The New Yorker, USA)

'Il y a dans le jeu, dans la carrière, dans la personalité de ce pianiste britannique quelque chose d'extrêmement séduisant et de hors du commun … la Sonate est magnifique d'imagination, déroulée comme un vaste poème, sans alanguisement, sans excès de fureur, juste une sorte de retenue respectueuse de la richesse de l'écriture' (Classica, France)

Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58
composer
1844

Allegro maestoso  [9'06]
Largo  [8'42]

Other recordings available for download
Artur Pizarro (piano)
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Lev Oborin (piano)
Percy Grainger (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor Op 58 was the last of Chopin’s three piano sonatas, written in 1844 during the years of his full maturity as a composer, and in contrast to the ‘Sonata funèbre’ it moves closer to conformity with both the formal and the generic archetypes of what was already becoming recognized as German sonata-symphonic thought. It is as though having come to terms with the four-movement sonata in Op 35, approaching it obliquely by way of the familiar ‘Chopin genres’ of the early 1830s, the composer now felt able to tackle this weighty genre on its own terms. This is apparent in the close-knit motivic argument—the developing variation—of the first movement, and in the measured tread—late Beethoven, late Schubert—of the slow movement. There are some parallels with Op 35, including the sequence of the inner movements where the scherzo precedes the slow movement, and again the inverted reprise of the first movement, but in most respects the two works are poles apart. The outer movements point up the contrast. There could be nothing further from the elliptical, understated finale of Op 35 than the grandiloquent sonata rondo with which Op 58 races, or rather gallops, to its bravura coda. This at least is a more conventional way to end a sonata! As for the first movement, this presents us with a much more closely argued thematicism than its counterpart in Op 35. The principal theme is strong and distinctive, but it is quickly broken down into motivic-contrapuntal working in a process of continuous development and transformation that then characterizes much of the movement. Considerable heads of tension are built up by this process, both in the exposition and in the development, and it is the function of the Nocturne-like second theme—one of Chopin’s happiest inspirations—to resolve them.

from notes by Jim Samson © 2009


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