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Chopin: Late Works, Opp. 59-64 / Pollini

Chopin / Pollini
Release Date: 01/27/2017 
Label:  Dg Deutsche Grammophon Catalog #: 002591402   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Esteemed for almost 60 years as one of the greatest Chopin interpreters, Maurizio Pollini confirms his preeminence with this 2017 release. Pollini's fluid phrasing and control of expression and dynamics have always given his performances sophistication and a feeling of balance, though these are engaging renditions that are far from cerebral or clinical. Listeners can hear for themselves how polished and deeply felt these performances are, and appreciate the artistic wholeness of his conceptions, from the elegance of the "Minute" Waltz to the sublime melancholy of the posthumous Mazurka in F minor. Highly recommended for fans of great piano music.

– All Music Guide (B. Sanderson)
Esteemed for almost 60 years as one of the greatest Chopin interpreters, Maurizio Pollini confirms his preeminence with this 2017 release. Pollini's fluid phrasing and control of expression and dynamics have always given his performances sophistication and a feeling of balance, though these are engaging renditions that are far from cerebral or clinical. Listeners can hear for themselves how polished and deeply felt these performances are, and appreciate the artistic wholeness of his conceptions, from the elegance of the "Minute" Waltz to the sublime melancholy of the posthumous Mazurka in F minor. Highly recommended for fans of great piano music.

– All Music Guide (B. Sanderson) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Paris, France 
2.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 68: no 4 in F minor, B 168 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Paris, France 
3.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 162/Op. 63 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Paris, France 
4.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 157/Op. 59 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Paris, France 
5.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 161/Op. 62 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Paris, France 
6.
Polonaise-fantaisie for Piano in A flat major, B 159/Op. 61 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Poland 
7.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, B 164/Op. 64 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Paris, France 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Pollini & Chopin – in Winter October 24, 2017 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "This new release from Deutsche Grammophon includes not only late Chopin, but late Pollini – having been recorded in 2015-2016. Pollini retains, in the studio at least, a formidable technique. Chopin is often billed as a Romantic, but in many ways he was a Classicist to the core – unlike Schumann, he applied generic names and forms to his works: Sonata, Etude, Mazurka, Waltz, etc. But Chopin began to broaden his formal horizons in some of his last works, which make up this disc. The recording starts with a Barcarolle which combines a sense of untroubled calm combined a rather swift pace – the waters are smooth and the gondolier is in a hurry. Very efficient overall. I usually don’t reference timings in my reviews, but it strikes me that Pollini takes just 7:55 to play the Barcarolle against 9:26 for Rubinstein – who was hardly known for slow tempi. The advantage to Pollini’s approach is that the structural arc of the work is clear, but there’s little sense of occasion during the work’s climax. The Mazurkas are given the same swift and straight approach. It would be quite a challenge for all but the most fleet footed to dance to these renditions – not that Chopin’s Mazurkas were universally meant to be danced to. An exception is the Op. 68 Mazurka, which Pollini treats rather freely, with a markedly slow tempo. I prefer the more characterized approach to Mazurkas as performed by Primakov and in Rubinstein’s 1930s cycle. The Polonaise-Fantasie is so smoothed out dynamically and played with such a lack of inflection that it’s as if Pollini were sight-reading and following a metronome. I am aware that some prefer Chopin to be played as “straight” as possible, but this is not an interpretation as such – it’s an aural photograph of the score of a work that needs to be performed with vivid characterization. Pollini’s earlier recording of this work, from the 1970s, is vastly superior. The Nocturnes fare better under Pollini’s approach. First, it’s nice to hear them not being dragged - as is often the case. (In actuality, if pianists tried uber-slow tempos on pianos from Chopin’s era, the works would sound disassociated due to rapid tonal decay.) Second, there is a nice balancing of leading notes in the bass, which are often submerged in performance. Third, even in old age Pollini maintains excellent control of the lower levels of dynamics (this was a problem in Rubinstein’s last cycle). The three Waltzes make up the high point of the disc. The Minute Waltz is phrased charmingly, with a nice sense of pace (of course, the “Minute” in the title means “small”, not that it should be played in 60 seconds). The C-sharp Minor Waltz is played with beautiful freedom of line, with each episode beautifully characterized, as is the A-flat Waltz which follows. The recorded sound is pleasing, with a nice sense of space around the piano, which is superbly voiced." Report Abuse
 What's with Pollini? March 11, 2017 By William Craig (BROOMFIELD, CO) See All My Reviews "This is a puzzling album. I've admired Pollini since I first heard his recordings back in the seventies; I've enjoyed his impeccable technique and his wonderfully straightforward approach, finding the full musical expression without feeling the need to editorialize. But in the last decade or so Pollini has become a bit weird in that he has become too enamored of the pedal. Not only does he pedal through passages that might better be left cleaner, but he seems reluctant to take his foot completely off the pedal - there's a sort of constant haze around the music. I noticed this in the later Beethoven recordings, and it's certainly here on this Chopin album. There's no question of technical insecurity; his fingers still do his bidding with their old precision. So this has to be a conscious choice, and I'm baffled as to why he thought it was a good idea. On the positive side, it's good to hear his views on works he has not previously recorded - the Waltzes and Mazurkas. But I'd have to say that the Barcarolle and Polonaise-Fantaisie are distinctly less satisfying than in his old recordings." Report Abuse
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