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Track(s) taken from CDA67849

Waltz in E flat major, Op 18

composed in Vienna in 1831/2 under the title Grande valse brillante

Stephen Hough (piano)
Recording details: October 2010
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: August 2011
Total duration: 5 minutes 10 seconds

Cover artwork: Black and White (1960/1) by Ellsworth Kelly (b1923)
The Art Institute of Chicago, restricted gift of Mr and Mrs Arnold H Maremount / Photograph by Grant Hiroshima

Other recordings available for download

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Artur Pizarro (piano)


'Launching his latest album with the earliest of waltzes to which Chopin gave an opus number, Stephen Hough sets a sparkling tone for what follows on this altogether brilliant disc … Hough is a pianist with all the elegance, wit and virtuosity required for these pieces, yet he also finds the deep vein of melancholy that runs through many of them' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Hough's decision to record the eight published waltzes in chronological order allows us to gain a feel for Chopin's glorious development in this genre … essential listening' (The Observer)

'Chopin’s waltzes are salon pieces, but always more than salon pieces, and Hough brings an astonishing range of touch to them. All those sophisticated inner parts and harmonic shifts are brought out with the greatest insouciance and style' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Hough's playing has such authority and panache, its balance between virtuosity and vividly communicated expression so finely judged, that every perfectly scaled moment is as intensely realised as every other. Few other pianists around today play Chopin with as much understanding and poised mastery as this' (The Guardian)

'Every [Waltz] conveys the feeling of bodies in motion, skirts twirling, and hearts intertwined … you don’t just hear Hough’s fingers; you hear his soul … the Minute Waltz contains one of the best melting moments of all; I could feel my knees giving way … I knew I’d never get my shins kicked, or an ache in the heel: I was dancing with Chopin and one of the world’s top pianists' (The Times)

'The leading British virtuoso has championed the byways of the piano literature since his award-winning Hummel concertos disc for Chandos. That he is also the most compelling interpreter of the mainstream classics is demonstrated by this winning collection of the 17 canonical masterpieces—and a handful of "encores" … his delicious lilt and rubato always seem perfectly judged, and he sweeps us off our feet with the twinkle-fingered brilliance of his dashing F major waltz … after the whirlwind merry-go-round of Chopin's imaginary ballroom, he sends us off to bed with a reposeful nocturne (Op 9 No 2)—a delightfully thoughtful touch to crown a mesmerising collection' (The Sunday Times)
The waltzes that Chopin published during his lifetime draw out contrasts between the effervescent emotions and sentimentality that we know to have contributed so much to the fashionableness of the ballroom waltz. This emerges clearly in the first of the published waltzes, the E flat major, Op 18. The main themes of the waltz brim with the bustle of the dance floor: the stirring call to the dance of the introduction, and the rising and falling motion of the opening melodies, which (as the musicologist Eric McKee has persuasively argued) Chopin meant to reflect the spinning motions of dancing couples. The contrasting themes (with melodies in thirds and in the new key of D flat major), on the other hand, have a more reflective lilt (Chopin instructs the pianist to play one of them con anima, and the soulfulness of the melody emerges palpably).

from notes by Jeffrey Kallberg © 2011

Tout comme certaines caractéristiques compositionnelles, la variété des différentes versions reflète un peu les origines sociales des valses chopiniennes. La notion même de popularité paraît résulter de divers aspects des valses. Cela vaut tout particulièrement pour les valses que Chopin publia de son vivant, celles qui, fondées sur des contrastes entre émotions effervescentes et sentimentalité, concoururent tant, nous le savons, à la vogue de la valse pour salles de bal. Ce qui est flagrant dans la première des valses publiées par Chopin, celle en mi bémol majeur op. 18. Les thèmes principaux grouillent de l’agitation de la piste de danse: ainsi l’entraînante invitation à la danse de l’introduction, ou encore le mouvement ascendant et descendant des mélodies inaugurales que Chopin voulait (le musicologue Eric McKee l’a montré de façon convaincante) comme le reflet du tournoiement des couples de danseurs. Les thèmes contrastifs (avec des mélodies en tierces et dans le nouveau ton de ré bémol majeur), en revanche, présentent des inflexions davantage réfléchies. (Chopin demande au pianiste de jouer l’un d’entre eux con anima, et l’émotion de la mélodie affleure, palpable.)

extrait des notes rédigées par Jeffrey Kallberg © 2011
Français: Hypérion

Ebenso wie die unterschiedlichen Versionen in gewisser Weise die sozialen Hintergründe der Chopinschen Walzer widerspiegeln, so ist dies auch bei mehreren kompositorischen Charakteristika der Fall. Die bloße Vorstellung von Popularität scheint in diverse Aspekte der Walzer bereits hineinkomponiert zu sein. Das ist insbesondere bei den Walzern der Fall, die Chopin zu seinen Lebzeiten herausgab, in denen die Kontraste zwischen überschäumenden Emotionen und Sentimentalität herausgearbeitet sind, die bekanntermaßen so viel zu der Modernität des Walzers als Gesellschaftstanz beigetragen haben. Dies tritt deutlich in dem ersten der publizierten Walzer hervor, nämlich dem in Es-Dur, op. 18. Die Hauptthemen dieses Walzers stellen die Betriebsamkeit auf dem Tanzboden lebhaft dar: die mitreißende Aufforderung zum Tanz in der Einleitung und die aufsteigende und abfallende Bewegung der Anfangsmelodien, mit denen (wie der Musikwissenschaftler Eric McKee überzeugend dargelegt hat) Chopin wohl die sich drehenden Tanzpaare darstellte. Die gegensätzlichen Themen (mit Melodien in Terzen und in der neuen Tonart Des-Dur) hingegen wirken eher nachdenklich (Chopin weist den Pianisten an, eines davon con anima aufzufassen, und das Seelenvolle der Melodie tritt spürbar hervor).

aus dem Begleittext von Jeffrey Kallberg © 2011
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Chopin: Reminiscences
Studio Master: CKD248Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Chopin: The Complete Waltzes
Chopin: The Complete Works
CDS44351/6616CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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