Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto is as much a portal into the classico-romantic landscape as Beethoven’s fifth symphony, or Grieg’s piano concerto. As a dedicated listener, you most likely have them burned deep in your consciousness, even if you forget which is which.

Hough’s working now becomes the one that a new generation of listeners will go through life hearing as the very thing Tchaikovsky had in mind, no matter Hough being his millionth interpreter. Will anyone suspect the orchestra of being recorded at too high a level? A release like this would never be issued with any distortion. Would it? Hough holds nothing back, he can hardly afford to, seeing the industrious violinist sidelined without so much as a mention. A high-fives spectacle for the audience, with the treat for all of us now of having Tchaikovsky’s concertos resolutely nailed down in this one place anew.

Transcriptions of two of Tchaikovsky’s songs tie off disc 1 as pensive solo encores, while the added extras on disc 2, alternative versions of the middle movement from concerto No 2, stem from Hough’s endless quest for ultimate musical truths. Such attention has helped him earn the reputation he enjoys today, along with that piano power challenging any listener to find fault.

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