As one of the world's preeminent interpreters of Chopin, Maurizio Pollini could simply rest on his laurels of more than half a century of playing, and let his numerous recordings for Deutsche Grammophon stand as his lasting legacy. Yet this 2012 release is proof that the 70-year-old pianist is still relevant. He has lost none of his technique and clarity, and his playing is as polished as ever. Performing the 24 Préludes, Op. 28; the 2 Nocturnes, Op. 27; the 4 Mazurkas, Op. 30; and the Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31, Pollini demonstrates his characteristic steadiness and control, leaving nothing to the emotions of the moment but letting the music carry its own expressions. It takes a degree of self-effacement to play Chopin without exposing one's feelings through dramatic changes of dynamics or obvious use of rubato, but Pollini never indulges in Romantic clichés nor gives cheap displays of sentimentality. As a result of his paying close attention to what Chopin wrote, Pollini's performances are always spontaneous and fresh, uncluttered with the mannerisms of outworn traditions. This brilliant album will reassure Pollini's many admirers that he still has all of his skills, and it should invite a new generation of listeners to explore his catalog.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|24 Préludes, Op. 28|
|2 Nocturnes, Op. 27|
|4 Mazurkas, Op. 30|