Pianist Stephen Hough has waited until late mid-career to record the Beethoven "piano concertos," and it shows. With all the competition in this field, he made sure to produce a distinctive set, and anyone wondering whether his performances are derivative can relax. Hough's concertos are deliberate and remain mostly at the lower end of the dynamic range. A casual traversal might give the impression that he's being deliberately antiheroic, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hough's tempos, except in the slow movement of the "Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73," are on the slow side, but what this does is open up room for a striking amount of well-considered detail. This perhaps works least well in the "Emperor," although that slow movement takes on a new and intriguing proportional relationship to the big opening movement here. The first two concertos give a sense of Beethoven straining to break out of established forms as few other performances do, and the "Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58," is perhaps best of all, as Hough establishes a kind of meditative mood. He's matched every step of the way by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu, pared down to historical-performance dimensions and minimal vibrato in the strings. The sound from the Helsinki Music Centre is another attraction. This is a Beethoven "piano concerto set" that stands out from the crowd, whatever listeners may think of its overall approach.