A scherzo may be a joke, but Chopins Scherzi are not to be laughed at: indeed, they are highly virtuosic and require performers with the utmost skill. Within their complexity, though, is hidden some of the most sensitive and tender music Chopin ever composed. On hearing his Scherzo in B flat minor Op.31, Robert Schumann felt compelled to compare it to the romantic poems of Byron, as it seemed to overflow with passion and feeling. The Scherzo in B minor Op.20, marked Presto con fuoco, starts at tremendous speed, and climaxes in astonishingly virtuosic arpeggios that span almost the entire length of the keyboard, ending in a minor plagal cadence that seems to sum up the dark despair the piece encapsulates. More light-hearted but equally complex are Chopins Études and Mazurkas, which he performed himself to great acclaim. It was Schumann, again, who praised Chopins skilful playing, marvelling at his capacity to bring out the inner voices just as clearly as the melody. At a time when other composers were turning towards large-scale orchestral works, Chopin knew his strengths lay with his solo compositions for piano: his Waltzes, Scherzi, Mazurkas and Études still rank among the most performed and beloved solo piano works today. This release illustrates why Chopin deserves his reputation as supreme composer for the piano, featuring as it does his most dramatic works for the instrument. Czech pianist Ivan Moravec, whose recording career spans almost half a century, entered the classical music scene in America with aplomb thanks to his performances of Chopins Scherzi in 1962. This recording was made in 1989 at the world famous Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in New York State, which boasts one of the finest acoustics in the US. Playing on a Steinway Model D that had to be brought through the window especially for the performance, Moravec sparkles on this recording, as he illustrates why his reputation as a world-class pianist is truly deserved.