Gramophone Magazine January 2012 Editor's Choice
BBC Radio 3 Building a Library February 2014 Modern Choice
A concerto album from Stephen Hough is always a significant event. For this new recording Stephen travelled to Bergen – Grieg’s home town – to join forces with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Grieg and Liszt that are set to become landmark recordings of all three concertos.
Grieg’s A minor Piano Concerto, with its plethora of great tunes, is one of the most popular of all Romantic works, while Liszt’s two highly original concertos present unique challenges to both pianist and orchestra. These performances are exciting, magisterial and highly coloured, with breathtaking virtuosity harnessed to poetic refinement and finesse – hallmarks of Stephen’s playing that have already helped his concerto recordings to win two Gramophone ‘Record of the Year’ accolades.
Stephen Hough and Andrew Litton continue the astonishing success of their collaboration in Rachmaninov’s concertos, Hyperion’s fastest-selling recording. The Bergen players provide freshly idiomatic support in the Grieg and revel in the sumptuous scoring of the Liszt. The results are thrilling, and this deserves a place in any music lover’s collection, no matter how familiar the music.
Released to coincide with the twin anniversaries of Liszt’s birth (200 years ago) and Stephen’s own 50th birthday (in November), this recording is an apt celebration of both.
Introspective (but never lost in introspection) one minute, of the most refined bravura the next, he expresses a personality all his own, brilliantly alert to mercurial changes of mood and clearly riding on the crest of a wave of success. With technique honed to a state of diamond-like brilliance, he gives us rapier-like cadenzas and glissandos..that flash like summer lightening. Gramophone
These two like-minded musicians manage to bring to these much-recorded works not merely thrilling virtuosity and lyrical depth but a Mendelssohnian lightness of touch where needed...Litton, himself a fine pianist, is one of the best orchestral accompanists on the planet, following Hough's every nuance with pin-point precision and lovingly shaping the many woodwind and string solos. Classic fm *****