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Track(s) taken from CDA67085

Deux Polonaises, S223

composer
1851

Stephen Hough (piano)
Recording details: November 1999
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: November 2000
Total duration: 21 minutes 6 seconds

Cover artwork: Romantic Landscape (1860) by Antal Ligeti (1823-1890)
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1
Polonaise mélancolique in C minor  [12'11]
2
Polonaise in E major  [8'55]

Other recordings available for download

Leslie Howard (piano)

Reviews

'At last, Hough tackles Liszt’s Sonata on record and the result is as musicianly as this fine pianist’s admirers might expect' (Gramophone)

'Hough transforms the rumbling, chromatic bass line [Ballade No 2] into an almost terrifyingly atmospheric setting' (BBC Music Magazine)

'[A] beautifully rendered collection … the wonderful refinement and quiet poetry of his playing is a constant joy. A highly distinguished disc' (The Guardian)

‘This is a superlative recording, one that defies criticism. Hough’s pianism is evocative, spiritual, and technically and tonally scrupulous. What better compliment could be given than to say that this is the way one imagines these pieces might have sounded when Liszt himself played them? Recorded sound is ideal, and an excellent, detailed booklet adds to the value of this outstanding release’ (American Record Guide)

'Hough at his meticulous best' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Thoughtful, intelligent, and beautifully recorded too – a special release' (CDReview)
The two Polonaises recall Chopin, but only for the titles; the epic spread of the first one, in particular, has no equivalent in the Polish composer’s canon, and there is a ceremonial feeling to the second which brings other non-Polish Polonaises to mind, such as those of Beethoven, Schubert or Tchaikovsky. The C minor piece, entitled ‘mélancolique’ by Liszt, though most editions omit to mention it, has remained rather sadly neglected, but it is an excellent work of its kind, seeming to bear the woes of the whole world on its shoulders. Even the contrasting major-key tune fails to alleviate the gloom, which is confirmed by a very strange meditative cadenza in which the pulse changes to 4/4 and the dance-style of the Polonaise becomes a distant memory. The Second Polonaise used to be something of a warhorse: Busoni played it (and saddled it with much too long a cadenza, however interesting!), and Rachmaninov and Grainger both recorded it. A little less hackneyed nowadays, it remains a good foil for its companion, and its ingredients of two splendid themes and some really musical pyrotechnical variations make it a compelling concert-piece.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1988

Other albums featuring this work

Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2 – Ballades, Legends & Polonaises
CDA66301
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
CDS44501/9899CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Arthur de Greef – Solo and concerto recordings
APR7401Download only
Moura Lympany – The HMV Recordings, 1947-1952
APR6011for the price of 1 — Download only
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
APR7501Download only
The Stephen Hough Piano Collection
This album is not yet available for downloadHOUGH1Super-budget price sampler
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