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Track(s) taken from CDA67456

Scherzo No 2 in B flat minor, Op 31


Stephen Hough (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
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 42 seconds

Cover artwork: Cupid and Psyche by Annie Louisa Swynnerton (1844-1933)
Oldham Art Gallery, Lancashire / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Artur Pizarro (piano)
James Rhodes (piano)


'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)
For Schumann the Second Scherzo (1837) had all the high flown passion of Byron, and Chopin insisted that the opening sinister triplets could never be sufficiently tombé in performance: like a charnel house. Chopin’s volatile question and answer blossom, surprisingly, into one of his most expansive melodies and the A major trio, a marvel of economy, evolves into the most urgent and florid virtuosity. The subsequent ‘development’ is heaven-storming, indeed, and after a nearly exact repetition of the chief material (it is suitably and rhetorically embellished at key points) the fast and furious coda unites many seemingly disparate elements in a final whirl of glory.

from notes by Bryce Morrison © 2004

Pour Schumann, le Second Scherzo (1837) possédait toute la passion torride et fleurie de Byron. Chopin soulignait qu’on ne pouvait jamais suffisamment exécuter les sinistres triolets du début, en «tombé», tel un cietière. La question-réponse volatile de Chopin s’épanouit, étonnamment, en une de ses mélodies les plus expansives tandis que le trio en la majeur, une merveille d’économie de moyens, évolue vers une des virtuosités les plus ornées et pressantes. Le «développement» qui suit frappe aux portes du paradis. Après la reprise quasiment exacte du matériau thématique principal (embelli de la manière rhétorique qui convient aux moments clés), la coda rapide et furieuse rassemble ces éléments d’apparence hétérogènes en un tourbillon final de gloire.

extrait des notes rédigées par Bryce Morrison © 2004
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Für Schumann hatte das Zweite Scherzo (1837) die hochtrabende Leidenschaft eines Byron, und Chopin beharrte darauf, dass die finsteren Triolen am Anfang nie ausreichend Tombé aufgeführt werden könnten – dem Eindruck einer Leichenhalle nicht unähnlich. Chopins impulsive Frage und Antwort blühen auf und entwickeln sich – überraschenderweise – in eine seiner ausgedehntesten Melodien, und aus dem Trio in A-Dur, ein Meisterwerk der Sparsamkeit, entsteht eine ungeheuer drängende und blühende Virtuosität. Die darauffolgende „Durchführung“ ist sehr stürmisch und nach einer fast wörtlichen Wiederholung des Hauptmaterials (die Schlüsselstellen werden rhetorisch ausgeschmückt) vereint die schnelle und furiose Coda in einem letzten glanzvollen Wirbelwind viele scheinbar unvereinbare Elemente miteinander.

aus dem Begleittext von Bryce Morrison © 2004
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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Chopin: Reminiscences
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