Maurizio Pollini - Frédéric Chopin: Late Works, Opp.59-64 (2017)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 168 Mb | Artwork included | Time: 00:54:35
Genre: Classical | Label: Deutsche Grammophon | # 479 6127

Esteemed for almost 60 years as one of the greatest Chopin interpreters, Maurizio Pollini confirms his preeminence with this 2017 release on Deutsche Grammophon, and offers his first all-Chopin disc since 2012. Chopin's late works were composed between 1845 and 1849, and include the Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60, the 3 Mazurkas, Op. 59, the Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major, Op. 61, the 2 Nocturnes, Op. 62, the 3 Mazurkas, Op. 63, the 3 Waltzes, Op. 64, and the Mazurka in F minor, Op. Posth. 68, No. 4; they are notable for their harmonic richness and freedom of melodic embellishment, characteristics that made them especially influential among his Romantic contemporaries. Pollini's fluid phrasing and control of expression and dynamics have always given his performances sophistication and a feeling of balance, though these are engaging renditions that are far from cerebral or clinical, claims that critics have sometimes laid at Pollini's door. Yet listeners can hear for themselves how polished and deeply felt these performances are, and appreciate the artistic wholeness of Pollini's conceptions, from the elegance of the "Minute" Waltz to the sublime melancholy of the posthumous Mazurka in F minor. Highly recommended for fans of great piano music.

Chopin has remained one of the staples of Maurizio Pollini's career both on record and in the concert hall for more than half a century. Since completing his recordings of most of the major works (only the mazurkas were not covered comprehensively), his most recent Chopin discs have returned to parts of that repertory to explore it chronologically. After collections devoted to works with opus numbers in the 20s and 30s, the latest focuses on the last pieces from Opp 59 to 64. There's the Barcarolle and the Polonaise-Fantaisie, together with six mazurkas, two nocturnes and three waltzes, and the unfinished F minor Mazurka Op 68 no 3 added as an epilogue.

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, though the Polonaise-Fantaisie, one of Chopin's supreme achievements, disappoints; there's none of the rhythmic drive Pollini once brought to it, as if now he is too wrapped up in its formal innovations. For all its passing beauties, there's a sense throughout the disc that he's more concerned with what he is still discovering in the music than in communicating to a larger audience; it often tells us more about him than it does about Chopin.


01. Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op.60 (7:55)

3 Mazurkas, Op.59
02. No. 1 in A minor. Moderato (3:34)
03. No. 2 in A flat major. Allegretto (2:22)
04. No. 3 in F sharp minor. Vivace (2:58)

05. Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major, Op.61 (11:31)

2 Nocturnes, Op.62
06. No. 1 in B major. Andante (5:45)
07. No. 2 in E major. Lento (5:01)

3 Mazurkas, Op.63
08. No. 1 in B major. Vivace (1:55)
09. No. 2 in F minor. Lento (1:50)
10. No. 3 in C sharp minor. Allegretto (2:00)

3 Valses, Op.64
11. No. 1 in D flat major. Molto vivace (1:43)
12. No. 2 in C sharp minor. Tempo giusto (3:20)
13. No. 3 in A flat major. Moderato (2:40)

14. Mazurka in F minor, Op. Posth. 68 No.4: Andantino (2:00)

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