Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recorded in 1989, Stephen Hough's dynamic performance of Johannes Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83, holds up quite well, even if the sound quality is a little less than desirable. As one of the great contemporary English pianists, Hough can be relied on to turn in a fascinating reading of practically anything, and his Brahms is no exception. Playing with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Davis, Hough delivers a grandly poetic interpretation that allows both sweepingly broad gestures and intricate details, according to the music's dramatically changing character. The orchestra follows suit with a fluid and expansive accompaniment, and Davis' restrained direction gives Hough ample freedom to make the expression his
own. All would be well with this recording if it weren't for the strange imbalances between the piano and orchestra: dim and recessed one minute, then bold and forward the next. The changes in volume and shifting focus of the sound seem the fault of whimsical mixing, and listeners need to concentrate to hear everything at the softest levels. Even so, Hough's performance is exceptionally virtuosic, lyrical, and moving, so the minor inconvenience of the variable sound should not prevent anyone's appreciation of this rewarding performance.
-- All Music Guide
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