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Hyperion Records

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Cupid and Psyche by Annie Louisa Swynnerton (1844-1933)
Oldham Art Gallery, Lancashire / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67456
Recording details: May 2003
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: February 2004
Total duration: 9 minutes 15 seconds

'This is astonishing piano playing and Chopin interpretation, at its very best, fully measuresup to the greatness of these pieces. And to their freshness, not least; the Ballades and Scherzos, along with just about all Chopin's work, have been constsntly before the public, and Stephen Hough's accounts of them offer plenty of refinement to spirit and senses. It's not given to many to play them as well as he. Hough is unfailingly thoughtful; there's not a note that hasn't been cared for. …he combines a staggering technique with a genuinely engaging musical imagination. Handsomely recorded and produced.' (Gramophone)

'In the use of words like sensational, extraordinary, phenomenal, etc., critics have to be sparing, at risk of their credibility. But these adjectives are all appropriate to this new Chopin recital by Stephen Hough, which vaults him to the top rung in this repertoire, right next to Rubinstein' (American Record Guide)

'Hough has something unique and individual to say, with capricious daring and memorable directness. The beautifully balanced sound quality self-effacingly enhances what seemingly passes for a live experience uninhibited by microphones. Listen well and often for maximum reward and exhilaration.' (International Record Review)

'…to play Chopin with the rhythmic subtlety he requires without it seeming contrived is a rare gift. Stephen Hough has it in abundance' (The Sunday Times)

'Stephen Hough's quicksilver mastery of the idiom proves an unfailing guide throughout' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hough has an awe-inspiring technique and the ability to play even the most rushed passages of Chopin with extraordinary clarity' (Fanfare, USA)

Scherzo No 1 in B minor, Op 20
composer
begun in Vienna circa 1831; completed in Paris in 1835

Other recordings available for download
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Jorge Bolet (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the First Scherzo (1832) a clarion call to attention launches the principal theme which sears upwards like a zig-zag flame, its key and gaunt texture insisted on throughout. The dissonance and syncopation are startlingly modern, and so is the second subject’s terse yet haunting declamation. The central B major reworking of the polish carol ‘Sleep, little Jesus’ is a no less spare yet conciliatory lullaby, its gently rocking motion and tranquillity finally clouded by ill-feeling as the storm returns, its fury confirmed in a pulverizing coda full of harsh surprises, and not just for Chopin’s contemporaries. This Scherzo was the favourite of Anton Rubinstein, most leonine of pianists, and was often known as ‘The Infernal Banquet’.

from notes by Bryce Morrison © 2004


Other albums featuring this work
'Chopin: The Complete Works' (CDS44351/66)
Chopin: The Complete Works
MP3 £45.00FLAC £45.00ALAC £45.00Buy by post £50.00 CDS44351/66  16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Chopin: The Four Scherzi' (CDH55181)
Chopin: The Four Scherzi
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55181  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Jorge Bolet – His earliest recordings' (APR6009)
Jorge Bolet – His earliest recordings
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6009  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  

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