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Tag: Maurizio Pollini

Maurizio Pollini – Beethoven: The Last Three Sonatas, Opp. 109-111 (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Maurizio Pollini – Beethoven: The Last Three Sonatas, Opp. 109-111 (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 56:00 minutes | 826 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Maurizio Pollini revisits Beethoven’s final three sonatas (Op. 109 to 111), forty years after recording the very same score for the first time, a score which sees the composer elevate the genre to dizzying levels of expertise. The Italian pianist explains that ever since January 1977 (the first time he recorded No. 32, Nos. 30 and 31 dating even further back to June 1975), he has continuously discovered an infinite number of details within the material and the structure over the course of the multiple times he has performed the three sonatas. Beethoven strays away from the conventions of the traditional sonata with these, something he had been doing since his Opus 27 (Quasi una fantasia, Moonlight), inserting various astonishing shapes. Thus, variation (Op. 109, Arietta of the Op. 111) and fugue (Op. 110, after that of the Opus 101) assume an innovative importance here, much like other unrestricted episodes where Beethoven appears to be expressing very personal emotions, initiating the Romantic era, where subjectivity reigns over structure. Recorded in concert, Maurizio Pollini brings a surprising amount of urgency (Op. 109) and lyricism (Op. 110) to this release that ensures its place as one of the best Pollini recitals in recent years (Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin). A must-listen. – Pierre-Yves Lascar

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Maurizio Pollini – Chopin: Nocturnes, Mazurkas, Berceuse, Sonata, Opp. 55-58 (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Maurizio Pollini – Chopin: Nocturnes, Mazurkas, Berceuse, Sonata, Opp. 55-58 (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 53:27 minutes | 964 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Frédéric Chopin made his name in the high-society salons of his native Poland and, above all, in the vibrant Paris of Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo and George Sand. His pieces for solo piano, often technically challenging, always enchanting, are in constant global demand today, especially when brought to life by a performer of Maurizio Pollini’s stature. The 76-year-old Italian musician has been in love with Chopin’s art since childhood, a passion clear in his critically acclaimed recordings of the composer’s works for Deutsche Grammophon. Maurizio Pollini – Chopin, set for international release on 25 January 2019, embraces a lifetime’s dedication to the composer and complements Pollini’s much praised 2017 album, Chopin – Late Works, opp.59–64.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Claudio Abbado, Maurizio Pollini and Anna Prohaska 2011 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Claudio Abbado and Maurizio Pollini covered much of their artistic careers together, giving many joint concerts, including the ones with the Berliner Philharmoniker. In this recording from 2011, they perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major together for the first time in Berlin. The same evening, Claudio Abbado conducted the Adagio from Mahler’s unfinished Tenth Symphony with his old orchestra for the first time.

The appeal of the G major concerto lies not least in the prominent role given to the woodwind. On an almost equal footing, they converse with the piano, awaking memories of ensemble scenes in Mozart’s operas. And just as in an opera, the gamut of emotions is run: “Within its friendly key”, the work is “full of secret smiles and secret sorrows,” fittingly wrote the Mozart scholar Alfred Einstein. There is genuine theatrical drama in this concert with Mozart’s concert aria K 418, giving us the opportunity to meet Anna Prohaska, a young soprano from the Staatsoper Unter den Linden and a rising star of the Berlin music scene.

The concert opens with Alban Berg’s Symphonic Pieces from Lulu, which Berg put together to promote his opera, at a time when he saw the planned premiere threatened by the Nazi regime. The result is a fully-grown five-movement symphony resembling not least the symphonies of Mahler – a composer who Berg deeply admired and whose baton he once stole as a souvenir. Notably, the parallels between the last of the pieces, an adagio, and the Adagio from Mahler’s Tenth are clear; both manifestations of the hopelessness of, and a farewell to life.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Christian Thielemann and Maurizio Pollini with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 2012 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

The name of Franz Liszt is closely linked to the so-called “New German School”, a group which in the second half of the 19th century made it its mission to create closer integration of music and the other arts. In his time, Liszt (as father-figure) and Wagner were regarded as their role models, in contrast to the traditionalists, who had chosen Johannes Brahms as their spokesperson.

In this concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Christian Thielemann, the position of the “New German School” is represented by three symphonic poems composed by Franz Liszt: Les Préludes, based on a work by the French poet Alphonse de Lamartine, Mazeppa from a poetic idea of Victor Hugo, and Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe which was inspired by a sketch of the painter Michael Zichy.

The concert overtures of Mendelssohn, poetically described by his contemporaries as “tone paintings”, were the precursors to these forms of programme music. Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage) is based on two poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. For Mendelssohn, the attraction lay in writing a musical representation of the complete stillness and the gradual picking up of the wind that brings the ship safely into port.

The Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart serves as the musical counterpoint to these. Mozart composed this work under tremendous pressure for a performance at the Vienna Court Theatre in March 1785. Nevertheless, this cheerful and festive work is distinguished by both its masterly formal structure and melodic and harmonic ingenuity. The soloist is Maurizio Pollini, a long-time associate of the orchestra. It was, however, the first time the Italian pianist performed together with Christian Thielemann at the Philharmonie.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Maurizio Pollini and Christian Thielemann 2016 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Maurizio Pollini has by now been a musical partner and indeed friend of the Berliner Philharmoniker for many decades. And Christian Thielemann has also been closely associated with the orchestra since his Philharmonic debut in 1996. The grandseigneur among the pianists of our time and the acting chief conductor of the Dresdner Staatskapelle have already repeatedly proven that they get along swimmingly as artists – not least on the podium of the Berlin Philharmonie.

In December 2012, together with the Berliner Philharmoniker, they gave a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C major K. 467 that was acclaimed equally by press and audience. And this sets the course for a reunion with Thielemann and Pollini in the Berlin Philharmonie. This time, the artists placed Frédéric Chopin’s First Piano Concerto on the programme, a work that has accompanied the pianist since the beginning of his career, when he played it at the final concert of the Warsaw Chopin Competition in 1960 after winning first prize.

The Berlin composer Aribert Reimann has never made a secret of his admiration for the music of Robert Schumann. Reimann’s Seven Fragments for Orchestra from 1988 are dedicated “in memoriam Robert Schumann” and can be seen as compositional meditations about the Romantic whose person and music Reimann so admires. Schumann himself can be heard in these three concerts with the overture to his only opera Genoveva, composed in 1847-49. The composer wrote the overture even before writing the libretto based on dramas by Friedrich Hebbel and Ludwig Tieck. In it, he already presents all the themes of the figures acting in his opera in free sonata form.

With four symphonic interludes from Richard Strauss’s Intermezzo, premiered at the Semperoper in 1924, Christian Thielemann also brings a musical greeting from Dresden to his home town of Berlin, thus concluding a concert whose programme is just as exquisite and multi-faceted as its interpreters!

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Maurizio Pollini – Debussy: Preludes II (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Maurizio Pollini – Debussy: Préludes II (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 48:31 minutes | 790 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Why yes indeed, this is a very recent recording of Debussy by Maurizio Pollini (with his own son Daniele at his side for En blanc et en noir), made in late 2016 in Munich’s sumptuous Herkulesaal. In it, the old lion of the piano unfurls for us the sumptuous and enigmatic musical tapestry of the Second Book of Debussy’s Preludes, finished in 1912: a superlatively delicate pattern, more sketched and suggested than really followed, the pianist being enjoined not to “overdo it”. Maurizio Pollini, 74 when the recording was made, can measure his performance out perfectly, and knows how to give the impression that the music is being written and improvised as he plays. And the album closes with En blanc et en noir for two pianos, of which Debussy wrote in 1915: “I have suffered greatly from the long drought imposed upon my brain by the war”; after months of silence, and his work editing Chopin, he entered a period of fevered creativity which continued with the two Books of the Études and the final sonatas. First entitled “Caprices en blanc et noir”, the three pieces of En blanc et noir refer neatly to the instrument’s keys and, as Debussy writes in 1916, “they aim to draw their colour, their emotion, from the simple piano, like Velasquez’s greys”. Grey, the fruit of the meeting of black and white…

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Frederic Chopin – Late Works, Opp. 59-64 – Maurizio Pollini (2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Frederic Chopin – Late Works, Opp. 59-64 – Maurizio Pollini (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 54:34 minutes | 905 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recorded: Munich, Herkulessaal, 5 & 9/2015; 5/2016

After winning the International Chopin Competition over half a century ago, Maurizio Pollini adds an important new chapter to his ongoing interpretation with some of the composer’s most famous late works. On this album, the “grand master” (BBC music magazine) interprets some of Chopin’s largescale masterpieces, including six Mazurkas and three Waltzes that he has never recorded before. “I’m in love with Chopin – his music never ceases to amaze me.” – Maurizio Pollini

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Johannes Brahms – Piano Quintet Op.34 – Maurizio Pollini, Quartetto Italiano (1980/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Johannes Brahms – Piano Quintet Op.34 – Maurizio Pollini, Quartetto Italiano (1980/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 43:47 minutes | 846 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: e-Onkyo | Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recording: January 1979, Residenz, Herkulessaal, Munich, Germany

As I remarked when reviewing the Bartok/Ranki version (Hungaroton), your choice in this work is likely to depend on your priorities. I did not review this Pollini version when it first appeared, but a friend of mine played me just the slow movement and I thought it marvellous: however, when I heard the whole performance on this newly transferred CD, I realized that that movement is by far the best of it and that, for the rest, the balance is too variable and too dominated by the pianist to be anything like ideal. So you will only go for this version if you are a Pollini fan or are primarily interested in the piano playing, which is superb.
The Musikverein Quartet with Previn on Philips is the best balanced recording and together they give a wonderfully well integrated and perceptive performance. It is the most recent of these recordings and is my own choice. But I did start by referring to priorities and if your own is for quantity of music for your money, then it (and the Pollini for that matter) is poor value at only just over 41 minutes (the Pollini is a couple of minutes longer) compared with Hungaroton who couple it with the Clarinet Quintet. The Hungarian sound quality is not very good—it dates from the mid-1970s but it remains a fine buy for those who want value.’ –Gramophone

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Ludwig van Beethoven – The Late Piano Sonatas Nos. 28-32 – Maurizio Pollini (2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – The Late Piano Sonatas Nos. 28-32 – Maurizio Pollini (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:05:34 minutes | 2,08 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recording: January, June 1977, Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Wien, Austria; #9-14 – June 1975, Residenz, Herkulessaal, Munich, Germany

Maurizio Pollini recorded Beethoven late sonatas in the mid-1970s and received lavish critical praise for his faithful and highly skilled interpretations. The pianist and his performance have since acquired legendary status, particularly for the Hammerklavier, deemed “perfect” by Gramophone.

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