Steve Moffatt
Limelight, Australia
November 2021

British-born Australian star Stephen Hough … brings … the distilled wisdom, poetry and scholarly nonchalant charm of one who is at the very zenith of a brilliantly successful career. As a composer as well as a performer and writer, Hough lends a composer’s sensibility to these works and points out in his liner notes that although Chopin wrote no operas and only a handful of pretty ordinary songs, he idealised the human voice. 'Enter the nocturnes—some of the finest bel canto arias ever written,' he says.

Hough highlights Chopin’s improvisatory genius with two versions of the famous Op 9 No 2, playing the authentic embellishments on the first disc and ending the set with an exquisite performance of the adornments that the composer jotted down on the scores of his students. He also features posthumous or misattributed nocturnes, including the meltingly lovely Lento con gran espressione in C Sharp Minor and the so-called Nocturne oubliée by an unknown composer.

Chopin’s glorious singing melodies take wing under Hough’s fingers in this must-have collection.

Limelight, Australia