Stephen Hough joins the celebrations for Chopin’s 200th birthday with a disc containing much of the composer’s most extraordinary music, written in the last years of his life where the expressive possibilites of his art were constantly unfolding as he imbued his favoured forms with previously unknown levels of complexity and emotional depth. This disc includes the intoxicatingly ornamented Berceuse Op 57 and the sublime Barcarolle in F sharp major as well as the Polonaise-Fantasy in A flat major and the towering Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor. Also included are two late Nocturnes which demonstrate how Chopin’s art had evolved since he first composed in that genre in his youth. The programme is completed by a selection of Mazurkas, each a tiny jewel, containing no less mastery than their larger counterparts, and providing moving sonic evidence of the contemplative profundity of Chopin’s late style.
Stephen Hough’s extraordinarily sensitive playing is informed by his limitless technique and engaging musical imagination. This is the Chopin of a true Romantic.