Piano Street Magazine

Remembering the Great Maurizio Pollini

March 25th, 2024 in Piano News by | 7 comments

Legendary pianist Maurizio Pollini defined modern piano playing through a combination of virtuosity of the highest degree, a complete sense of musical purpose and commitment that works in complete control of the virtuosity. His passing was announced by Milan’s La Scala opera house on March 23.

Between the 1970s and 90s, he launched various recordings with the Deutsche Grammophon label, solidifying his reputation as an esteemed interpreter of works by Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, and Brahms. He later incorporated contemporary works by Boulez and Nono, developing close relationships with both composers. Pollini’s albums earned numerous awards, including a Grammy in 2007 for his Chopin: Nocturnes solo performance.

One of the last recording from Maurizio Pollini features Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas, works he first recorded more than four decades ago. “The sonatas were published separately,” notes Pollini, “but can be seen as forming a unified cycle.” In the Sonata in E major op. 109, completed in September 1820, the first two movements – played without a break – function almost as an introduction to the much longer finale. Here he plays the first movement live in Munich’s Herkulessaal on September 27, 2019.

Maurizio Pollini, De main de maître – A musical profile of the famous pianist

From Claudio Abbado to Pierre Boulez, from Bach to Verdi to Schoenberg, Nono and Stockhausen: A musical profile of the important milestones in his career, the musicians he has known and his varied repertoire. Based on an extended interview, the film also includes archival footage and excerpts from concerts and documentaries.
There were several compelling reasons to make a film portrait of Maurizio Pollini: his immense talent as a pianist, his rare personality, his affability, intelligence and the desire he himself expressed to submit to this exercise for the very first time — probably because at the age of over 70, he felt that it was time to consent to a film portrait.
Directed by Bruno Monsaingeon, 2014.


Reader question: Which is your favourite Pollini recording?

Please post your reply in the comment form below!


Read more:

Pollini at 70 Returns to Dresden with Brahms

Maurizio Pollini’s Chopin Etudes Astonish 50 Years Later

The Pollini Project – charting the development of piano music from Bach to Boulez

The Guardian: Maurizio Pollini obituary

Gramophone: The pianist Maurizio Pollini has died at the age of 82

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Comments

  • Jonathan says:

    RIP Maurizio. The best recording I know of is Prokofiev’s Sonata 7. The album is recorded 1972 and also contains Stravinsky’s Petrouchka.

  • Gary Taylor says:

    I love the Chopin 24 Preludes DG album from the 70s. Very poetic playing.
    A lot of his Chopin recordings are great.
    Not so much the Beethoven.

  • Lynn Inglese says:

    I have every recording he ever made…

  • Ellen says:

    3 Movements from Petrushka

  • Steve Tarzynski says:

    I consider all his recorded works to be masterpieces. I was fortunate to have seen him in concert as well. He will be greatly missed and so will his social activism on behalf of the downtrodden and his ability to combine both his art and his causes.

  • David Goulden says:

    The Schumann Fantasy coupled with the first piano sonata, DG 1973. The aria is played as beautifully as it can possibly be played. Almost everything he recorded in the 1970s and 80s was great (shame about DG’s often bony engineering).

  • Marya Berry says:

    Mozart’s Piano Concerto 23, which I’d always enjoyed but Pollini truly brought it to my conscious & enchanted attention! Grazie, Maurizio, per tutto! R.I.P. in the knowledge that you will be remembered & beloved.

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