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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beautiful Chopin Waltzes played beautifully,
This review is from: Chopin: The Complete Waltzes (Audio CD)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 His playing of all the Waltzes (8 published and 9 unpublished plus 3 of doubtful origin) especially the melencoly ones in minor keys moved me to tears.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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the last word in Chopin's element, idiom or parlor style,
This review is from: Chopin: The Complete Waltzes (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.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly complete waltzes, lovingly played,
This review is from: Chopin: The Complete Waltzes (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great pianist.,
This review is from: Chopin: The Complete Waltzes (Audio CD)Nice waltzes played by a great pianist. Hough's work is totally convincing. This is a CD that anyone will enjoy.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very new interpretation,
This review is from: Chopin: The Complete Waltzes (Audio CD)A very new interpretation of Chopin's waltzes. Not excentric but fascinating because of a lot of small and pretty details. Changing tempos and rythms sound really swinging and dancing.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoy every track,
This review is from: Chopin: The Complete Waltzes (Audio CD)I first heard this on my local classical radio station. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered it. I practice ballet to the music and enjoy it even when I'm not dancing.
4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!,
This review is from: Chopin: The Complete Waltzes (Audio CD)I got this as a gift for my friend whose favorite pianist is Stephen Hough, and he was not disappointed!
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