Maurizio Pollini, classical review: 'Masterly'
Royal Festival Hall, London
Wednesday 19 February 2014
Maurizio Pollini, 72, may be one of the all-time piano greats, but he’s also famously nervy, and for much of his Southbank recital – dedicated to Claudio Abbado - he communicated his nerves to us.
After a gravely serene account of Chopin’s final Prelude, he launched into that composer’s second and third Ballades in a doggedly getting-through-it way, with the passage-work smudged and the lyricism singularly joyless.
He delivered the opening movement to Chopin’s second sonata in the same spirit, but when he reached the sweetly-singing middle section of the funeral march something seemed to click, and the music took off into a seductive dream: suddenly Pollini was playing with his old authority, and he went on deliver the sinister ‘wind over the graves’ finale with breath-taking wizardry.
The rest of his concert was sublime, with the customised Fabbrini Steinway – which had been far from ideal for Chopin – allowing him to turn Debussy’s first book of Preludes into a richly suggestive succession of tone-poems.
Many of these pieces are dialogues between the hands doing very different things far apart, and his control of shading, colour, and form was masterly.
After a standing ovation, two triumphant Chopin encores: yes, God’s still in his heaven.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Downton Abbey fans unimpressed by Kindle sponsorship adverts
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine
Kendrick Lamar announces new song 'i' following leak
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Top Gear to launch in France after Jeremy Clarkson banned from driving on roads
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God