Pollini in London

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

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Pollini in London

Post by arepo » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:53 pm

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Re: Pollini in London

Post by Ricordanza » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:53 am

"There has never been any room for sentiment in Pollini’s playing"
This is undoubtedly intended to be complimentary, but that about sums up my problem with Pollini.

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Re: Pollini in London

Post by Lance » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:53 pm

Like Ricordanza, I have the same "problem" with Pollini's playing. Outside of his initial concerto recording upon winning the contest (which I thought to be an extraordinary recording/performance), my interest in collecting Pollini became minimal in comparison to other concert pianists on the scene. [Interestingly, Testament issued an EMI recording (which they never issued!) of Pollini playing all 24 Etudes by Chopin, which is quite different as rendered by the young Pollini in comparison with his DGG recording of the same Etudes.] Pollini had something special back then, so what happened?

Inasmuch as Pollini apparently uses the Hamburg Steinway-Fabbrini for his concerts as he travels and recordings, one would think that particular piano would "assist" Mr. Pollini in reaching the goals of the music from the instrument Mr. Fabbrini has perfected. That is not always the case regardless of the instrument. The playing still is largely "cold" to me, but perhaps not to others.

Below is a URL regarding an article about the Hamburg Steinway-Fabbrini you may find most interesting, which talks about this unique "perfected" instrument, but also about other pianos as well from the 1870s and pre-War and after-War pianos built by such firms as Steinway & Sons. It's rather longish, but, as a concert piano technician, to me, very fascinating. There is always the big question about subtlety in solo piano music and the "range" a piano can offer, not to mention the piano's "touch". Personally, I prefer the general Steinway/Baldwin/Mason & Hamlin sound from their very best pianos. Debussy thought his music should only be played on a Bechstein. For Artur Schnabel, he felt Steinways had "too much personality of their own" (he made most of his recordings on Bechsteins before their sound became more like Steinway). He eventually played Steinways mostly in the USA but Bechsteins in Europe. Also, among the finest Debussy recordings of his piano music I have ever heard were given by Ivan Moravec on a Baldwin SD-10. Even harpsichordist/reviewer Igor Kipnis made a statement to the effect that "if you thought the art of building great pianos was in decline, just hear this recording" (on the Connoisseur label.) Anyway, read on at this URL ...

http://www.classical-scene.com/2010/04/ ... n-concert/
Ricordanza wrote:
"There has never been any room for sentiment in Pollini’s playing"
This is undoubtedly intended to be complimentary, but that about sums up my problem with Pollini.
Lance G. Hill

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]


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Re: Pollini in London

Post by John F » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:05 pm

Pollini isn't the only major pianist who was special in youth but lost spontaneity in middle age. I've been disappointed in the career of Vladimir Ashkenazy, who also made extraordinary recordings of Chopin early on - the 2nd concerto and the etudes for Melodiya - but whose later work, in a vast repertoire, often seemed merely polished. Undoubtedly it's hard to remain fresh when repeating essentially the same repertoire throughout a long career, but the great ones did.
John Francis

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