Maurizio Pollini

Chopin: Etudes

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Both sets of Chopin's etudes can be as fiendishly difficult for the performer as they are mesmerizing for the listener, yet Maurizio Pollini makes them sound as if they pose no problems whatsoever for him in this 1972 recording. Every one of the etudes is played with easy precision, energy, and an entirely enjoyable musicality that demonstrates why Chopin's etudes are no mere exercises and are as suited to the recital hall as to the practice room. The Op. 25 No. 5 Etude in E minor has some tricky finger acrobatics in it, but Pollini brings out a singing melody all the same in the middle section, while adding a bit of dancing animation to the outer sections. The melody of the famous Etude No. 3 in E major is lyrical and warm, which highlights precisely the challenge posed by Chopin in these brief pieces: bring out an effective melody while mastering an exact technique through repetition. The recording also shows why Pollini is one of the most respected Chopin interpreters of all time.

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