Maurizio Pollini, sacred monster and nice piano humanist, dies at 82 | Culture | EUROtoday

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“On one occasion a lady asked me which trend I belonged to, those who play as it is written or those who do it as they feel.” The pianist Artur Schnabel collects this well-known anecdote in his posthumous ebook My Life and Music (1961). His response represents the mentality of the trendy pianist that Maurizio Pollini (Milan, 1942) ideally embodied: “Can I not belong to those who feel as it is written?”

The Italian pianist had a legendary ability that allowed some to listen to, in the identical recital, mental depth and others chilly pyrotechnics. Despite this, he all the time defended the intrinsic worth of composition over interpretation. A humanist of the piano and a distinguished “reader”, as portrayed by the piano historian Piero Rattalino, who died early final Saturday, March 23, in a hospital in Milan, on the age of 82.

Rattalino additionally outlined Pollini as a “sacred monster.” A pianist of outstanding inventive high quality who, as well as, exerted a substantial affect on the general public. He continued to take action lately, regardless of his bodily limitations and his growing well being issues. Not by probability, his recitals had been introduced in Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona in the course of the month of April, which have been canceled on the finish of February on account of a critical respiratory situation.

Pollini was not merely a pianist admired and cherished by the general public. His affect renewed the interpretation of the good piano repertoire, from Beethoven to Debussy, and he opted for its growth. His recitals by no means lacked the vindication of Schönberg's piano music or essentially the most progressive proposals of Boulez and Nono.

But the composer who structured his total profession as a pianist was Chopin. After finding out with Carlo Lonati and Carlo Vidusso, and graduating from the Milan Conservatory, in 1960 he gained the Warsaw Chopin Competition. He did it with such authority that even Arthur Rubinstein, who presided over the jury, acknowledged that this 18-year-old was technically superior to all of them. We can hear that combination of poetry and perfection from the younger Pollini in his 1960 recording of the Piano Concerto No. 1de Chopin (EMI/Warner Classics).

After that, Pollini selected to retire from the worldwide scene to proceed his coaching. He started finding out Physics in Milan and attended grasp lessons by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. In these years he strengthened his curiosity within the Second Vienna School and the serial music of Boulez and Stockhausen. A musical ardour that introduced him nearer to 2 nice buddies: the director Claudio Abbado and the composer Luigi Nono. The three shared left-wing political militancy and a number of other tasks to carry modern music nearer to the working-class public.

His worldwide return in 1968 brought about a sensation and shortly afterwards he signed an unique contract with Deutsche Grammophon. He started his relationship with the yellow label in 1971, recording the Three actions of Petrushkaby Stravinsky, together with the seventh sonata, by Prokofiev. And he continued along with his legendary recordings of the 2 collection of Chopin research (1972), the Fantasy op. 17 by Schumann (1973), the entire works for piano by Schönberg (1974) and the final 5 sonatas of Beethoven (1975-77). But he additionally recorded the Second Sonata, by Boulez (1976), and made a number of unforgettable albums with orchestra such because the Piano Concerto No. 4by Beethoven, with Karl Böhm, in 1976, and the Concert no. 2by Bartók, with Claudio Abbado, in 1979.

All of those recordings replicate his mastery of mixing technical finesse with hypnotic musical energy and admirable mental lucidity. Many others adopted, all the time in DG, comparable to Schubert's final sonatas (1983-85), the Sonata in B minor by Liszt (1990), research and preludes by Debussy (1993 and 1999) or Chopin's scherzos and ballads (1999), to which he additionally added Brahms and Mozart and even re-recorded in his final years, as occurred with the final sonatas of Beethoven. In all of them there is similar rejection of virtuosic show and an method away from mannerisms. An method that he utilized with equivalent rigor to the compositions of Boulez, Manzoni, Nono, Sciarrino and Stockhausen.

Pollini additionally flirted with musical path within the early Nineteen Eighties. He even left a recording of The girl of the lake, by Rossini, on the Pesaro Festival (Sony Classical). But he ended up limiting himself to conducting Mozart from the keyboard. His shy and withdrawn persona stored him from the highlight and he was not lavish in interviews. In the final one which he revealed in Spain the journal Scherzo, In September 2021, he acknowledged what the pandemic stoppage had affected him and his want for a dwell live performance: “an unrepeatable experience during which something special always happens.” His funeral chapel has been put in on the La Scala Theater in Milan, the place he gave so many unforgettable recitals, and leaves a musical inheritor in his son Daniele, 45, who can be a pianist.

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