Chopin / Pollini Release Date: 01/10/2012
Label:TestamentCatalog #: 1473
Composer: Frédéric Chopin Performer: Maurizio Pollini Number of Discs: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
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"It's utterly superb: there's a freshness about Pollini's playing, a spontaneity that's absent from his more magisterial later Chopin, and his technique is even more dazzling, too. If there's a more naturally musical and immaculate recording of the Studies than this 1960 account, then I have yet to hear it." - Andrew Clements,
The Guardian, [October 20, 2011]
Eighteen-year-old Maurizio Pollini recorded the complete Chopin Études for EMI in 1960, hot on the heels of his first prize victory in the International Warsaw Chopin Competition. Although EMI's late producer Peter Andrys described Pollini's playing of theRead more Études as "a spine-tingling experience", the pianist did not permit them to be issued. Now that Testament has released Pollini's 1960 Études, it's clear that the pianist was unfairly self-critical. This is fabulous playing by any standard, as polished, effortless, and sparkling as one would expect from the young Pollini.
You hear phrases that transpire more impetuously in comparison with Pollini's standard-setting 1972 DG traversals, such as Op. 10 No. 8's right-hand runs, a lighter touch to Op. 25 No. 2's feathery passagework, and greater delicacy throughout Op. 25 No. 1 (here Pollini plays the conventional A-flat bass line on the fourth beat of measure 25; he favored the less convincing Henle Urtext A-natural in 1972).
The "Revolutionary" Op. 10 No. 12 sports more textural differentiation and rhetorical leeway in 1960 than 12 years later, while its Op. 25 counterpart in the same key sounds less "notey" in contrast to the relatively "hammered out" DG version. On the other hand, pianophiles will appreciate Pollini's more refined legato phrasing in the later Op. 10 No. 7 and Op. 15 No. 8 works, plus a more fluid and faster Op. 10 No. 6 that moves more directly than the slower, more rubato-laden 1960 reading.
Still and all, had Pollini's 1960 Chopin Études been released according to plan, they may well have stood as a version of reference, especially for collectors who didn't care for Cziffra's subjectivity, or who wanted a better sounding edition than Ashkenazy's musically comparable yet sonically dicey Melodiya set. Pollini originally may not have approved this recording, yet I certainly do now!
Early PolliniMay 13, 2012By Bevan Davies (Kennebunk, ME)See All My Reviews"This recording is a revelation. For the 18-year old Pollini it is remarkable. The sound is more natural than the later DG recording, and the playing is self-assured."Report Abuse