CHOPIN Études op. 10 & op. 25 / Pollini 4796331
. . . [the 24 Etudes of Chopin's Opp 10 and 25] remain among the most perfect specimens of the genre ever known, with all technical challenges -- and they are formidable -- dissolved into the purest poetry. With his own transcendental technique (and there are few living pianists who can rival it), Pollini makes you unaware that problems even exist -- as for instance in Op 10 No 10 in A flat, where the listener is swept along in an effortless stream of melody. The first and last of the same set in C major and C minor have an imperious strength and drive; likewise the last three impassioned outpourings of Op 25. Lifelong dislike of a heart worn on the sleeve makes him less than intimately confiding in more personal contexts such as No 3 in E major and No 6 in E flat minor from Op 10, or the nostalgic middle section of No 5 in E minor and the searing No 7 in C sharp minor from Op 25 . . . it's a princely disc . . .
. . . a recording milestone . . . [and the] definitive version . . .
Forty-five years on, Maurizio Pollini's Etudes have lost none of their power to astonish, with velocity and finesse still unrivalled except perhaps by Pollini himself . . .