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Chopin: Works For Piano, Op 33, 34, 35, 36 & 38 / Maurizio Pollini


Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001193902   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CHOPIN Ballade No. 2 in F. Mazurkas, op. 33. Waltzes, op. 34. Impromptu No. 2 in F?. Piano Sonata No. 2, “Funeral March” Maurizio Pollini (pn) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 001193902 (57:08)


It’s so difficult to find something new to say about any kind of music, new, old, or in between, and this always seems to be more the case with the most famous and popular classical Read more composers, such as Chopin. Maurizio Pollini, whose career is now in its fifth decade, is a pianist I always found moderately interesting in the past, but here he truly exceeds himself. In the printed interview by an anonymous person (producer Christopher Alder? project coordinator Matthias Spindler? they don’t say), Pollini is asked if his Chopin has become “increasingly compact, more compressed, that you dispense with the gesture in order to get even closer to the core of the actual expressive statement?” The pianist answers quite correctly, “I think I play Chopin more freely than I did in my youth, or at the time of the Chopin competition.” He’s absolutely right. No matter who, the anonymous interviewer does not have ears.


Perhaps the most unusual of Pollini’s touches, which may or may not have been unconscious and therefore unintentional, is his playing of the mazurkas in a more Italianate rhythm. The music still dances, but the tempo is not quite as irregular as a real Polish mazurka. This isn’t to say that these performances are “incorrect,” just different.


Differentness in phrasing, in what Pollini chooses to accent, runs throughout this entire set. Every flourish is incorporated into the overall structure. No ritard or Luftpause is introduced capriciously, but only after long meditation; yet his gestures sound spontaneous. (Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the second theme of the Sonata’s Marcia funebre, taken at a slower tempo than the first melody and with an almost apologetic, delicate touch, as if the pianist—and by inference, the composer—were sorry to bring up this sad, very private melody.) Pollini’s Chopin is primarily ebullient, occasionally inward, in feeling. To my ears, this approach is closer to the post-modern Lipatti than to the modern romantic Rubinstein.


The final movement of the Sonata is one of his finest moments. Pollini states, “[O]f all people, Schumann, who was such a great admirer of Chopin’s genius, asserted that the finale was not even music.” Pollini’s long experience playing such modern works as Schoenberg, Boulez, Webern, Stockhausen, and Nono allows him both to sense the underlying structure and to attack the music with a brio unrivalled in my experience. It is, quite simply, phenomenal playing.


Normally I make no comment regarding sound quality if the disc is modern and recorded by a major label (which means with optimum microphone placement), but this one is something special. There seems to be absolutely no mechanical obstruction between the player and the listener. I did not feel as if I were listening to a record at all; I felt the piano right in the room with me, at all dynamic levels. That, in itself, is quite an achievement.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ballade for Piano no 2 in F major/a minor, B 102/Op. 38 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Klaus Hiemann.
Audio Producer: Christopher Alder. 
2.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 115/Op. 33 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; Paris, France 
Length: 10 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Klaus Hiemann.
Audio Producer: Christopher Alder. 
3.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 34 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1838 
Length: 11 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Klaus Hiemann.
Audio Producer: Christopher Alder. 
4.
Impromptu for Piano no 2 in F sharp major, B 129/Op. 36 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Paris, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Klaus Hiemann.
Audio Producer: Christopher Alder. 
5.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, B 128/Op. 35 "Funeral March" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1839; Paris, France 

Sound Samples

Ballade No.2 in F, Op.38
Mazurka No.22 in G sharp minor Op.33 No.1
Mazurka No.23 in D Op.33 No.2
Mazurka No.24 in C Op.33 No.3
Mazurka No.25 in B minor Op.33 No.4
Waltz No.2 in A flat, Op.34 No.1 - "Valse brillante"
Waltz No.3 in A minor, Op.34 No.2
Waltz No.4 in F, Op.34 No.3
Impromptu No.2 in F sharp, Op.36
Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35: 1. Grave - Doppio movimento
Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35: 2. Scherzo - Più lento - Tempo I
Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35: 3. Marche funèbre (Lento)
Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35: 4. Finale (Presto)

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