Both sets of Chopin's etudes can be as fiendishly difficult for the performer as they are mesmerizing for the listener, yet Maurizio Pollini makes them sound as if they pose no problems whatsoever for him in this 1972 recording. Every one of the etudes is played with easy precision, energy, and an entirely enjoyable musicality that demonstrates why Chopin's etudes are no mere exercises and are as suited to the recital hall as to the practice room. The Op. 25 No. 5 Etude in E minor has some tricky finger acrobatics in it, but Pollini brings out a singing melody all the same in the middle section, while adding a bit of dancing animation to the outer sections…
One hates to admit it, but at this point in his career, pianist Maurizio Pollini is no longer a Mozart player. Although a supreme virtuoso, a passionate intellectual, and a consummate artist, Pollini has grown too brilliant, too intense, and too calculating for Mozart. Pollini's tone is crystalline, his textures are transparent and his tempos are perfect in this breathtaking 2005 recording of the G major and C major piano concertos, but it all seems too cold and too objective. Although he is also directing the Wiener Philharmoniker from the piano, this doesn't seem to encumber Pollini's virtuosity in any way; indeed, he appears to enjoy the challenge, audibly coaxing more force from the musicians' playing.
The two works included in this album are among the most unlikely of recording combinations, but here they are, under the baton of Claudio Abbado and the BPO, collaborating with Abbado's bosom friend Pollini.
Maurizo Pollini, the great concert pianist from Milan, is shown in fine form throughout this 13 CD box set "edition" of his previously released recordings on the Deutsche Gramophone label ( celebrating his 30th year with DG ). The performances were selected by the artist himself and so retain a merit absent in some other types of repackaging "schemes".
This 9-disc set pulls together Chopin recordings made between 1972 and 2008 by Maurizio Pollini. Works included are the etudes, the two familiar sonatas, the ballades, the scherzi, the preludes, the polonaises, and the nocturnes. Please note that this is far from a complete set of Chopin's piano works - missing are the concertos, most of the waltzes, most of the mazurkas, and most of the impromptus.