Maurizio Pollini
Piano

“Everything was clear, airborne, swept along by muted fervour always held in check. Schumann’s suddenly pensive endings, as in the second piece, spoke with unexpected depth. Take time, Pollini seemed to say, and listen.” (Financial Times)

Contacts

Jasper Parrott +44 (0)20 7229 9166
Tracy Lees +44 (0)20 3725 9119

Biography

In a career spanning nearly 60 years Maurizio Pollini is one of the great keyboard legends. He has a broad repertoire ranging from Bach to contemporary composers and has recorded works from the classical, Romantic and contemporary repertoire to worldwide critical acclaim. His recordings of the complete piano works of Schoenberg, and of works by Berg, Webern, Nono, Boulez and Lachenmann are a testament to his great passion for music of the 20th century and beyond.

In a career spanning nearly 60 years Maurizio Pollini is one of the great keyboard legends. He has a broad repertoire ranging from Bach to contemporary composers and has recorded works from the classical, Romantic and contemporary repertoire to worldwide critical acclaim. His recordings of the complete piano works of Schoenberg, and of works by Berg, Webern, Nono, Boulez and Lachenmann are a testament to his great passion for music of the 20th century and beyond.

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Contacts

Jasper Parrott +44 (0)20 7229 9166
Tracy Lees +44 (0)20 3725 9119

Reviews

“It’s easy to understand why Pollini should have been drawn back to these late pieces, with their harmonic daring and structural subtleties. He gives a fascinating account of the Barcarolle, austere and detached, but also intensely focused.” (The Guardian, January 2017)

“Courtesy of his trademark Fabbrini Steinway, Pollini opened not with bustling Schumann, but with a tribute to the late Pierre Boulez, whose mighty Piano Sonata No.2 Pollini is an irresistible exponent of. Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces proved an ideal homage to the much-missed composer-conductor, so much musical potential concentrated into brief playing times. With Pollini making every note significant and expressive, this daring start to the concert made for spellbinding listening.” (Colin Anderson, Classical Source, March 2016)

“Then Chopin’s Preludes brought out the Pollini we’d come for. He’s had these pieces under his fingers all his life, and that was how be played them, each of the twenty-four being a different facet of one great diamond. Some let the skies darken with storms then be rain-washed clean, others purveyed charm and excitement, menace and fury.” (Michael Church, The Independent, March 2015)

“It’s easy to understand why Pollini should have been drawn back to these late pieces, with their harmonic daring and structural subtleties. He gives a fascinating account of the Barcarolle, austere and detached, but also intensely focused.” (The Guardian, January 2017)

“Courtesy of his trademark Fabbrini Steinway, Pollini opened not with bustling Schumann, but with a tribute to the late Pierre Boulez, whose mighty Piano Sonata No.2 Pollini is an irresistible exponent of. Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces proved an ideal homage to the much-missed composer-conductor, so much musical potential concentrated into brief playing times. With Pollini making every note significant and expressive, this daring start to the concert made for spellbinding listening.” (Colin Anderson, Classical Source, March 2016)

“Then Chopin’s Preludes brought out the Pollini we’d come for. He’s had these pieces under his fingers all his life, and that was how be played them, each of the twenty-four being a different facet of one great diamond. Some let the skies darken with storms then be rain-washed clean, others purveyed charm and excitement, menace and fury.” (Michael Church, The Independent, March 2015)

“The first half of the concert was given over to Schumann, and it showed the kind of insight into this complex composer that only a lifetime’s experience can bring. The sudden swerve to a new key in the middle of the Arabesque was given a special weight, which made this somewhat hackneyed piece seem new. One of the things that’s always marked Pollini’s playing is its urgency. It’s the sense of being pulled forward that paradoxically gives Pollini’s famously tranced, beautiful sound its special quality. One certainly felt that urgency in his performance of Kreisleriana, Schumann’s great parade of fantastic visions culled from the writings of ETA Hoffmann. The back-and-forth between charm and something darker was riveting.” (The Telegraph, Ivan Hewett, March 2015)

“...his playing has a trim, classical cut with plenty of vitality, and a blunt, brusque Beethoven also bursts through from time to time.” (Richard Fairman, Financial Times, November 2014)

“...fearsomely implacable playing...but also moments of delicacy and even wit...” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, December 2014)

“A programme which ended with a dense and driven performance of Liszt’s B minor Sonata travelled there via four of the bleakest pieces he ever wrote. Two foretold his own death; and two mourned the death of his great friend, Richard Wagner. Pollini’s prowess in exploring the avant-garde European masters enables him to relish Liszt himself doing battle with tonality. The grey clouds of Nuages gris gathered and massed in the menacing rumbling of Pollini’s powerful left hand. And the right hand delineated its tiny grotesque motif, brightening to the pallid light of two exquisitely spread chords. Then Unstern! sinistre, disastro, as spooky as its title, with Pollini’s fingers drawing out spectres of funeral march, tolling bells and deafening tremolandos, followed by disquieting hushed chords. Pollini chose the first, shorter version of La lugubre gondola, Liszt’s premonition of Wagner’s death in Venice; and then, out of the suffocating darkness of its wake, strode into R.W. — Venezia, his hands clawing their way up the keyboard to a climax of searing grief.” (Hilary Finch, The Times, March 2012)

 “... last week at the Festival Hall, bringing his extraordinary Pollini Project to a triumphant close. At nearly 70, he still plays Chopin with the ease that floored even Rubinstein more than 50 years ago. His five-concert project promised to take his audience on a keyboard odyssey from Bach to Boulez and last Tuesday saw the final leg of the voyage: Chopin, Debussy and Boulez. We cast off with the 24 Preludes, Pollini moving steadily through the tricky waters in his matter-of-fact way. Some might think it clinical but Pollini knows that all the emotion is there on the page; it needs no histrionics… There was no doubting the firepower still available in that thunderous left hand as he crashed through the fury of No.22.” (Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, July 2011)

“Maurizio Pollini’s Project at the Festival Hall takes us to a new musical universe.” (Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, June 2011)

“Nowhere was this more so than in No 11 in the set, in which the swirling dexterity and pulsating rhythmic drive of the A minor Winter Wind study seemed to leave the 19th-century behind and vault forward into the 20th. This was a Chopin recital of the highest seriousness, with Pollini the right man for the occasion, making an irresistible case for Chopin as one of the greatest of all musical innovators.” (The Guardian, March 2010)

“As his last couple of London recitals have demonstrated, Maurizio Pollini is on magisterial form at the moment, and this carefully planned Chopin sequence, grouping together the works of Opp 34 to 36 with Op 38, provides a document of this golden period in his playing career. He has recorded the two major works here, the second Ballade and the B flat minor Sonata before, but both of these are titanic performances, full of perfectly focused power and high-tensile lyricism... On this kind of form, Pollini has few pianistic peers in the world today.” (The Guardian, October 2008)