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Chopin’s music has been a key part of Angela Brownridge’s musical life. Her recordings have already included the Four Scherzos issued by Cameo Classics in 2014. That disc included the Op 49 Fantaisie (re-recorded here) and the Third Sonata. Now we have the Four Ballades as the centre of focus, with the Second Sonata as the lead-in. The Sonata is finely played, its unusual structure (closer to that of Prokofiev’s Fourth Concerto than any 19th-century exemplar) used to good advantage in a nicely paced performance. The Ballades dominate proceedings, however, and are the most involving music and interpretations on the disc. Compared, for example, to Imogen Cooper’s accounts of Ballades 1 and 4 and the Fantaisie reviewed last year (IP Sept/Oct 2016, page 76), Brownridge is consistently swifter by a minute or so and she underscores the music’s innate drama. Challenge Classics’ sound is excellent and naturally clear. A disc I will revisit.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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