Stephen Hough

Chopin: The Complete Waltzes

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

In the hands of brilliant English pianist Stephen Hough, the complete waltzes of Frédéric Chopin are polished miniatures of great precision, elegant phrasing, balanced contrasts, and sparkling expression, and they easily stand out among the many recordings issued or reissued since the bicentennial of the composer's birth. That Hyperion waited until the hubbub died down and released this album in 2011 seems understandable, if there were any fears critics might miss it in the rush, though it plainly would have ranked among the best discs of 2010, the year it was in fact recorded. Hough's take on Chopin is fluid and somewhat elastic, and there is considerable use of rubato in these performances, though it is always controlled and never feels impulsive or self-indulgent. Indeed, with Hough's crisp rhythms and delicate melodic filigree, the ebb and flow of the tempo seem carefully thought through and not subject to whim. Tracks 1 to 8 are the published waltzes, though the unpublished waltzes and the waltzes of doubtful attribution take up the lion's share of the program, along with the waltz-like Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, which is a graceful closer. Hyperion's exceptional recording captures the fullness of the piano's sound in a fairly resonant space, though everything sounds clean and detailed, and not a note is lost.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 05:11
Three Waltzes, Op. 34
2 05:16
3 05:22
4 02:15
5 03:51
Three Waltzes, Op. 64
6 01:40
7 03:22
8 03:09
Three Waltzes, Op. 70
9 02:36
Two Waltzes, Op. 69
10 02:43
11 02:05
12 01:21
13 02:44
Three Waltzes, Op. 70
14 02:07
Two Waltzes, Op. 69
15 03:01
Three Waltzes, Op. 70
16 01:48
17 01:34
18 01:25
19 02:19
20 02:31
21 03:52
blue highlight denotes track pick