Chopin: Four Ballades & Four Scherzos

Here is some of the finest piano music to have come out of the nineteenth century. Chopin’s Ballades and Scherzos are individual creations of extraordinary expressive range and daring originality; they are among the most taxing works of the piano repertoire, as much for their interpretative challenges as their formidable technical ones.

This recording finds Stephen Hough on top form. He has performed these works in concert for many years, and with his dazzling pianism, penetrating intellect, beauty of sound and clarity of line, he is superbly equipped for this music. Unusually, Hough alternates the Ballades and Scherzos, as he feels that this sequence gives us a closer sense of continuous and unfolding musical biography, and that by dispensing with the cycle format the listener is enabled to hear each piece as an individual entity—as eight startlingly original and unique works.

A truly memorable disc, one surely set to become a top recommendation.

CDA67456  71 minutes 1 seconds
CD OF THE MONTH (Gramophone)

RECORD(S) OF THE YEAR 2004 (The Sunday Times)

‘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 w ...
‘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 ...
‘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 exp ...