Maurizio Pollini

Chopin [11 Tracks]

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Acknowledged as one of the world's leading performers of Chopin, Maurizio Pollini recorded most of his polished and sensitive interpretations for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1970s and '80s. On the occasion of the composer's 200th birthday in 2010, the label presented a compilation simply titled Chopin that draws on this legacy, and offers what some might consider Pollini's best tracks. These are decidedly among Chopin's best-known pieces, and casual classical listeners will likely recognize the Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op. 44, the Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53, "Heroique," or the Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, though the selections from the études and waltzes will be more familiar to serious fans of the composer. What might be a disappointment is the comparative shortness of the program: a single CD lasting nearly 73 minutes hardly does justice to Pollini's many accomplishments, and in a time when collectors favor twofers as the most economical packaging for reissues, this full-price collection of old ADD selections seems a bit stingy. Beginners would have benefitted from a double-disc package, for there are other work types that aren't represented here, such as the preludes, nocturnes, and the sonatas, which would substantially have added to the portraits of both Chopin and Pollini. Still, this album is well worth hearing, if only as an introductory sampler, and the full albums await exploration.

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