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Chopin: The Complete Waltzes [Import]

Stephen Hough , Frederic Chopin , None Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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"THE MOST PERFECT PIANO PLAYING CONCEIVABLE"
- The Guardian

"A VIRTUOSO WHO BEGINS WHERE OTHERS LEAVE OFF"
- Washington Post

Named by The Economist as one of 20 Living Polymaths, British pianist Stephen Hough is a rare renaissance man of our time. Over the course of a long and distinguished career as one of the world’s leading concert pianists, he ... Read more in Amazon's Stephen Hough Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Chopin: The Complete Waltzes + Stephen Hough's French Album
Price for both: $36.95

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Product Details

  • Performer: Stephen Hough
  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Frederic Chopin
  • Audio CD (August 9, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B0053SQRHO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,002 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Waltz in E flat major Op 18
2. Waltz in A flat major Op 34 No 1
3. Waltz in A minor Op 34 No 2
4. Waltz in F major Op 34 No 3
5. Waltz in A flat major Op 42
6. Waltz in D flat major 'Minute' Op 64 No 1
7. Waltz in C sharp minor Op 64 No 2
8. Waltz in A flat major Op 64 No 3
9. Waltz in D flat major Op 70 No 3
10. Waltz in B minor Op 69 No 2
11. Waltz in E major KKIVa/12
12. Waltz in A flat major KKIVa/13
13. Waltz in E minor KKIVa/15
14. Waltz in G major Op 70 No 1
15. Waltz in A flat major Op 69 No 1
16. Waltz in F minor Op 70 No 2
17. Waltz in A minor KKIVb/11
18. Sostenuto in E flat major 'Waltz' KKIVb/10
19. Waltz in E flat major KKIVa/14
20. Waltz in F sharp minor 'Valse melancolique' KKIb/7
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Review

A Chopin proponent of the first rank. --Audiophile Audition

Product Description

Stephen Hough has a unique affinity for the music of Chopin, whose music has always been a central part of his repertoire. His earlier Chopin recordings for Hyperion garnered huge critical acclaim. Hough s name has become synonymous with pianistic elegance, flawless technique and immense musicianship and he has become globally renowned for his engaging and refined Chopin interpretations. In his Waltzes, Chopin brought a new level of sophistication to this popular dance form. The disc is rounded off with the famous E flat major Nocturne, which gives a more lyrical expression to the meter of the waltz. These illuminating and compelling performances are not to be missed.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
(7)
4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beautiful Chopin Waltzes played beautifully August 11, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Chopin's very beautiful waltzes are, to me, some of the most gorgeous compositions by that composer. Stephen Hough's new (2010) recording of these works is so beautiful and sensitive. His playing of all the Waltzes (8 published and 9 unpublished plus 3 of doubtful origin) especially the melencoly ones in minor keys moved me to tears. He has such fabulous technique and produces the most beautiful tones.

Hough beautifully, rhythmically, gracefully and elegantly plays the Waltzes in chronological order of composition (which finely shows, to me, Chopin's development as a composer) with the ones in minor keys being my absolute favorites. (by the way Hough's use of rubato is sublime). Added to the aforesaid compositions, Stephen wonderfully plays the Nocturne in E flat number two (2) which really sounds a lot like a Waltz in disguise. Whatever form it really is, Stephen plays it most beautifully. I love this album and have listened to it often. Stephen Hough is a real "treasure". I just love how he plays the piano. Do I sound a little bias? I am bias when it comes to Hough's piano playing-- my high admiration of his playing is confirmed, once again, in this album. The recorded sound is very good too.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly complete waltzes, lovingly played April 13, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Critics tend to compare pianists with legendary figures of the past (Volodos is the new Horowitz; Brendel was the new Schnabel, etc.). Stephen Hough reminds me not so much of any pianist as of a conductor: Arturo Toscanini. No, Hough is not temperamental like the Italian Maestro. But his approach to music interpretation seems to be to discard traditional tempo changes, rubatos, and the like (which Toscanini derided as "the last bad performance"), study the score as if it were being played for the first time, and make any interpretive decisions on that basis.

Hough's set of waltzes is somewhat unique in that it includes not only Chopin's complete works in that genre, including those posthumously published, but even contains doubtful attributions. For extra measure, Hough tacks on the well-known E-flat Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 2 - which can sound like a languorous waltz.

Under Hough's hands, even the best known of these works emerge fresh - sounding newly minted. While never making interpretive decisions that draw attention for their own sake, there is nevertheless imagination in plenty here: Tempi are sensibly chosen, the meter is free without lapsing into rhythmic anarchy; inner-voices are blended in without popping out like sore thumbs; the sustaining pedal is used for washes of color but clarity is always maintained.

Hough also understands a nearly forgotten rule of Romantic performance practice: A works' beginning should be played in a direct manner, with rubato and other expressive devices introduced later on for effect. For example, at 2:59-3:08 of the C-sharp minor Waltz, Hough adds emphasis to an inner voice in the right hand - bringing a sense of variety to a passage that too often sounds repetitive.

Boasting excellent sound and thorough liner notes, this is my new "go-to" set of Chopin Waltzes - indeed a must for piano fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great pianist. May 4, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Nice waltzes played by a great pianist. Hough's work is totally convincing. This is a CD that anyone will enjoy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By RLB
Format:Audio CD
This disc, however well played in terms of keyboard skill, would not be my first recommendation for a single disc of Chopin's waltzes, even with the "attributions" (Sostenuto & Nocturne) included. Hough is by all means an accomplished and mature pianist, but there is a thematic element of Chopins' grace missing here. An element missing is a certain "full illumination" musically, of the lilt, turns, air, graces and melodies found on other recordings. In terms of a piano recording, the sound is a bit stuffy, bloomy, and congested. This doesn't help the somewhat "petite" technique Hough brings to these pieces.
For better interpretation, better representation of Chopin's Waltz sound world, better pace, more graceful playing, more lilt and verve, try (among others) Ashkenazy for a solid piano recording and faultless technique, if tempos a bit quick. Historically, Dinu Lipatti and Arthur Rubinstein should be heard, but (of course) recorded sound is a bit lacking. A disc nicely played with NO rushing - Arrau/Philips. If you like Vladimir Feltsmans' Liszt (CBS) you'll like his superbly recorded Chopin Waltzes, stunning technique. And Pollini, will we ever have a complete dedicated disc of Chopin 14 Waltzes from you instead of just a few waltzes scattered around in your DG discography?
Nonetheless, this disc is easily bettered in terms of recording achievement, more appropriate Chopin technique, insight to Chopin's Waltz sound world, involvement and musical delights.
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