Maurizio Pollini at the Festival Hall in London All on their feet at the end to salute a great master.
He may not get around the piano with quite the energy and amazing technical command of yore,but I for one,and I was obviously not alone last night, was able to experience his almost symphonic approach to Chopin.
Only with the Berceuse were we made aware of the bel canto in Chopin but in the Nocturnes we were immediately more in the world of Schubert and the solid harmonic structure on which these masterpieces are founded.
Amazing and startling similarity ,that I have never been aware of before today, between the Nocturne op 62 n.2 and the Polonaise in F sharp minor that was programmed side by side.
I do not think this was just a casual choice.
This great master who has lived with these scores for a lifetime was even now 60 or so years on more involved with his probing mind to delve into the hidden meaning of the structure of these works.
In the same way he has delved into the most modern works of Nono,Boulez or Stockhausen in a worldwide career that was launched at 18 with his winning of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw and the accolades that he received from the greatest of all Chopin players Artur Rubinstein.
The Debussy Preludes Book 1 ‘ like Book 2 last year were in a completely different sound world but still with the harmonic structure upper most in his mind.
Even the Feux D’Artifice,offered as an encore, was shrouded in a clouded sound where the line became so much part of the atmosphere.
Chopin’s First Ballade of course a most generous second encore brought the entire audience to their feet to salute this great master that despite obvious physical difficulties still has so much to share with us.
Long may it last!
His faithful piano technician Angelo Fabbrini who provides a Rolls Royce of piano to so many great musicians exclaimed to Noretta Conci-Leech an assistant for many years to Michelangeli and a lifelong friend of Maurizio Pollini: “I think even M°Michelangeli would have been pleased tonight.”
As the noted pianist Julian Jacobson told me today:” The first time I played a Fabbrini Steinway it was as if I was driving a Rolls Royce having never driven anything grander than a Mini before!”
A great conflict for Angelo today with Sokolov playing in Brussels. https://www.facebook.com/notes/christopher-axworthy/sublime-perfection-of-sokolov-in-rome/10155534039582309/
This is what I wrote last year as Pollini celebrated his 75th birthday with us in London where his concerts over the past half century have been highlights of every season.