Seong-Jin Cho’s first studio recording brings together the concerto with which the 22-year-old pianist won the coveted Chopin prize: “the composer’s No 1”, with the four Ballades for solo piano.
In an interview in the CD booklet, he says some delightfully insightful and mature things about the quiet passages being the ones you have to watch out for, and, given how Chopin’s music needs above all to sing, his excitement at working with such an operatically inclined conductor as Gianandrea Noseda. Happily, they are all borne out by the performances here. The tenderest passages in the concerto have a touching reticence, and there are times in the Ballades when he almost seems to be enjoying hanging back and confounding our expectations of exactly where this music’s passionate eruptions happen. Perhaps sometimes there’s room for a little more abandon, but this is definitely a disc that confirms a major talent.