Stephen Hough is surely the greatest living English pianist and certainly one of the greatest living pianists. Listen to his tremendous 2003 recording of Chopin's Ballades and Scherzos. His technique is impeccably virtuosic, but never facile. His tone is deep, rich, and full, beautiful even at its loudest and sonorous even at its quietest. His tempos are superbly judged and always fresh. His interpretations are distinctive, even individualistic, but never eccentric and always compelling. His sequence of the Ballades and Scherzos in chronological alternation forces the listener to hear each work both as unique and as part of a living musical biography. Hyperion's sound is lucid and warm, detailed and resonant, lush and immediate, and in every way as good as digital sound gets. Hough is certainly the greatest living English pianist and surely one of the greatest living pianists, and this is one of the greatest Chopin recitals ever recorded.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard