- Ballade for piano No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23, CT. 2
- Scherzo for piano No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20, CT. 197
- Ballade for piano No. 2 in F major, Op. 38, CT. 3
- Scherzo for piano No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31, CT. 198
- Ballade for piano No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47, CT. 4
- Scherzo for piano No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39, CT. 199
- Ballade for piano No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52, CT. 5
- Scherzo for piano No. 4 in E major, Op. 54, CT. 200
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Chopin's Ballades and Scherzos are often collected together on recordings for the simple reason that the eight works fill a CD to near capacity (72 minutes, in this case). But Stephen Hough provides a more musically satisfying reason, bringing an unusual lightness to the Ballades while also emphasizing darker elements within the scintillating texture of the Scherzos. Moreover, the pianist has interleaved the pieces here, alternating Ballades and Scherzos to underscore their affinities. Spontaneity is another highly attractive feature of Hough's performances, and it's especially impressive when one considers how familiar all these pieces are. Everything on this exquisitely recorded album sounds freshly thought through and lovingly conceived. Hough is proving to be a most poetically imaginative interpreter of the standard repertory. How lucky we are that he has so fine and loyal a label as Hyperion behind him. Special mention must be made, too, of Bryce Morrison's booklet notes -- as finely written and insightful an essay on Chopin's music as one could wish for.