Measured, meticulous, occasionally maverick and often magical, Stephen Hough’s eagerly anticipated Beethoven Piano Concertos cycle doesn’t disappoint. Marrying interrogative insight and interpretative individuality, it delivers vital, vivacious accounts that capture the grandeur and gravity, poetry and pathos, wit and finesse of these remarkable works.

Presented in chronological sequence, Beethoven’s shifting away from the two early Mozart-influenced concertos towards a language and style that is all his own is mapped out with all the sure-footed, fleet-fingered agility of a pianist whose depth of feeling for the music is matched by his ability to cast revealing new light on familiar landscapes.

There’s a sense of rightness about the choices Hough and Hannu Lintu at the helm of the dazzling Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra make. Immediately evident is a becoming spaciousness in tempi that err more often than not on the side of moderation. The creative lebensraum that results allows the fullest exploration of the supple give and take between piano and orchestra. It’s especially noticeable in the contrasts between introspection and exuberance, gracefully radiant slow movements discretely carving out space for moments...

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