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Maurizio Pollini never milked his music

His performances of Chopin études are considered definitive

Maurizio Pollini recordings of the piano concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann are among the best.
Maurizio Pollini recordings of the piano concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann are among the best.

Maurizio Pollini, one of the greatest pianists of our time, died on March 23, 2024. Born on January 5, 1942, in Milan, Italy, Pollini's musical talent was evident from a young age. He began studying piano at the Milan Conservatory when he was just nine years old, and it quickly became clear that he was a prodigious talent.


Pollini's early career was marked by success in prestigious piano competitions. The big one came in 1960 when he won the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, a victory that launched his international career. One of the judges, none other than Arthur Rubenstein declared that the 18-year-old Pollini played better than any of them.


One of the defining characteristics of Pollini's playing was his meticulous attention to detail. His precision and accuracy were legendary. His technique allowed him to tackle even the most demanding and complex pieces with apparent ease. Pollini's performances were marked by a clarity of tone that captivated audiences and critics alike.


Pollini's repertoire is vast and diverse, spanning works from the Baroque era to post-modern compositions. He is renowned for his interpretations of Chopin, Beethoven, and Debussy along with modernists such as Pierre Boulez and leftist composer Luigi Nono. However, he will be remembered most for Chopin. His performances of the études, in particular, are considered definitive.


Video:

Pollini plays Chopin Nocturne No. 8




The criticism of Pollini was that his playing began and ended with technical prowess. He may have been musically sensitive but his emotions were always in check. In performance, he never “milked it.” Sometimes a piece needs a good milking but that was not Pollini’s way.


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In addition to his solo performances, Pollini was a sought-after chamber musician and collaborative artist. He performed with some of the world's leading orchestras and conductors, and his recordings of the piano concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann are considered among the best in the classical canon.


Pollini influenced the post-WWII Rossini renaissance as a conductor. Yet the criticism remained. His performances as a conductor were insightful but brisk and literal when it came to tempo.  There were no operatic indulgences.


Throughout his career, Pollini received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to the world of classical music including the Grammy Award, the Echo Klassik Award, and the International Classical Music Award. Pollini's recordings garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, further cementing his status as a musical icon.


Maurizio Pollini was a pianist of unparalleled talent and ability. He will remain a beloved figure in the world of classical music. In him, we lose one more connection to the old world, to the analog world. Let us celebrate his remarkable career and enduring legacy.


Video:

Pollini: A Musical Profile






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Maurizio Pollini recordings of the piano concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann are among the best.
Maurizio Pollini recordings of the piano concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann are among the best.

Maurizio Pollini, one of the greatest pianists of our time, died on March 23, 2024. Born on January 5, 1942, in Milan, Italy, Pollini's musical talent was evident from a young age. He began studying piano at the Milan Conservatory when he was just nine years old, and it quickly became clear that he was a prodigious talent.


Pollini's early career was marked by success in prestigious piano competitions. The big one came in 1960 when he won the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, a victory that launched his international career. One of the judges, none other than Arthur Rubenstein declared that the 18-year-old Pollini played better than any of them.


One of the defining characteristics of Pollini's playing was his meticulous attention to detail. His precision and accuracy were legendary. His technique allowed him to tackle even the most demanding and complex pieces with apparent ease. Pollini's performances were marked by a clarity of tone that captivated audiences and critics alike.


Pollini's repertoire is vast and diverse, spanning works from the Baroque era to post-modern compositions. He is renowned for his interpretations of Chopin, Beethoven, and Debussy along with modernists such as Pierre Boulez and leftist composer Luigi Nono. However, he will be remembered most for Chopin. His performances of the études, in particular, are considered definitive.


Video:

Pollini plays Chopin Nocturne No. 8




The criticism of Pollini was that his playing began and ended with technical prowess. He may have been musically sensitive but his emotions were always in check. In performance, he never “milked it.” Sometimes a piece needs a good milking but that was not Pollini’s way.


Sponsored
Sponsored

In addition to his solo performances, Pollini was a sought-after chamber musician and collaborative artist. He performed with some of the world's leading orchestras and conductors, and his recordings of the piano concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann are considered among the best in the classical canon.


Pollini influenced the post-WWII Rossini renaissance as a conductor. Yet the criticism remained. His performances as a conductor were insightful but brisk and literal when it came to tempo.  There were no operatic indulgences.


Throughout his career, Pollini received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to the world of classical music including the Grammy Award, the Echo Klassik Award, and the International Classical Music Award. Pollini's recordings garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, further cementing his status as a musical icon.


Maurizio Pollini was a pianist of unparalleled talent and ability. He will remain a beloved figure in the world of classical music. In him, we lose one more connection to the old world, to the analog world. Let us celebrate his remarkable career and enduring legacy.


Video:

Pollini: A Musical Profile






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