Chopin: Ballade No 1 in G minor, Op 25; Berceuse in D flat major, Op 57; Fantaisie in F minor, Op 49; Scherzo No 4 in E major, Op 54; Debussy: Suite bergamasque; Pour le piano

Reviewed on Fri 06 Feb, 2015

This is, by my reckoning, the fifth CD from York-based pianist Sarah Beth Briggs issued on the Semaphore label, and it leaves just as favourable impression as did its predecessor (assessed by yours truly on 12 December 2013). Her superbly recorded programme launches with a delectably poised and memorably poetic rendering of Debussy's Suite bergamasque, in which 'Clair de lune' certainly distils its full quotient of enchantment. Next comes a sequence of four Chopin masterworks. Both the First Ballade and Fourth Scherzo sizzle and seduce in equal measure, while the gorgeous Berceuse has an affecting simplicity and tenderness. Best of all is the magnificent Fantaisie in F minor, whose questing harmonic and expressive scope are thrillingly conveyed by this eloquent and tasteful performer. Debussy's Pour le piano rounds off proceedings in comparably brilliant and discerning fashion. A genuinely rewarding anthology, this, so don't hesitate for a moment if the bill of fare takes your fancy.
–Andrew Achenbach