CHOPIN Études op. 10 op. 25 Pollini 4137942

Stunning virtuosity.

I expected good things from Maurizio Pollini, but his recording on Deutsche Grammophon provided more passion, more colour, more drama, than my wildest dreams. In the faster Etudes, such as Op. 10 No. 1, Pollini creates a surging effect by means of subtle dynamics, getting louder and softer according to the expressive connotations of the harmonies but never letting the intensity drop . . . Pollini's flexible rubato, combined with a lovely cantabile tone, maintained my interest and twanged that all-important heartstring . . . I was swayed by the fact that Pollini's recording is blessed with a beautifully clear and vivid sound.

Fischer-Dieskau . . . sings a neurotic, highly coloured "Liederkreis".

Maurizio Pollini is one of the most cerebral -- and dazzling -- pianists of all time . . . he fills concert halls wherever he plays, but it's a refined and subtle pleasure he brings . . . there's also the other side of Pollini -- the fabulously sensitive touch in Chopin, the grasp of form in Beethoven . . . Pollini's catalogue of 80-plus recordings for Deutsche Gramophon includes some wonderfully poetic Schumann, late Beethoven sonatas, and an unrivalled version of Boulez's immense, angry 2nd piano sonata. But the heart of it is his Chopin recordings. His 1985 recording of the Preludes (DG 413 7692 7) reveal the strange magic of these radical pieces, and the Etudes of 1986 (413 7942 9) are dazzling. A more recent Chopin recording from 2008 (477 7626) is worth buying just for the four Mazurkas, which are rhythmically fascinating in a way impossible to define.

Chopin's Études present considerable challenges to the pianist, but Pollini's masterly 1972 recording ensures the listener isn't remotely aware of them. And there are few pianists that can manage that. There's something refreshingly straightforward about his playing too -- he presents all the magical ebb and flow without getting over-emotional. The perfect performance.

. . . Pollini. Su Chopin es pulcro, cristalino, técnicamente perfecto y de una sonoridad lujuriosa. Ya en su día . . . no podía imaginar que un piano sonara de esta manera y que un pianista pudiera hacer lo que el italiano hacía. No hay frialdad; sí emoción.