In case anybody is interested, today I went to Pollini’s concert. I have never seen him perform before, nor have I really ever listened carefully to his recordings, but I can say that he played very well. I tend to say this about all the ‘big shots’ though.
The first half of the program was all Chopin: C-sharp minor prelude, Ballade No. 2, Scherzo #3, Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 and two nocturnes – c-sharp minor, op. 27, no. 1 and d-flat major op. 27, no. 2. I was impressed with the scherzo (‘cause I like that one) and the Polonaise was great. But the nocturnes…well…they were perfect. As he got to the end of the 27/1, I thought he was rushing a little on the last two or three bars and I wished he would have taken more time. But then I found out why – he didn’t end at the end, he melded it right into the beginning of the 27/2 and it was breathtaking. I may be ignorant, but I’ve never heard that before and don’t know if this is a common thing or not. And my favorite is the first one, but he played the second one so well, I felt my heart tightening. It was so beautiful.
The second half was Debussy Etudes, Book 2 which were nice. I did space out for one whole piece, though, and I had to nudge my husband to wake him up before he started snoring. And then Pollini played a Boulez Piano Sonata No. 2. For twenty minutes this was pretty much what I call ‘space’ music. I used to play this when I was ten and just wanted to fool around on the keyboard with the pedal down and make weird sounds. I really didn’t like it. It’s like I’ve said before, there is no melody, no rhythm, nothing but harsh sounds all the way through.
So that was the end of the concert, and I was wishing that he would play something I knew for an encore. And he did. He played five encores. The first one sounded like something Rachmaninoff-ish, the second was Chopin’s “Revolutionary” Etude, the third was Ballade #1 (loved it- he played it perfectly- just my kind of interpretation) the fourth was something that sounded like Chopin, but I didn’t know it. I’ll probably be very embarrassed if I learn that it was, and something that every Chopin-nut should know. The last encore piece was the “raindrop” prelude. So I feel that after all that, I got my money’s worth.
And I did hear three little slips –he’s human after all, and I can’t remember where they were, except for one that was a misplaced “raindrop”. My husband said he didn’t hear any of them. And I always carefully observe how the pros sit at the piano and how they work the pedals. Pollini did something kind of strange with his left foot. He used the soft pedal a lot, very normal-like, but he constantly brought that foot back under the bench even though he needed to use the pedal again in a second or two. Sometimes he just straightened out his leg to touch the pedal but not press down on it, like he was verifying that it was still there. He played on a shiny Steinway with a word that started with ‘F’ written on the side of the piano, but I couldn’t read it. Sounded great though. And for you fashion inquiring minds, he didn't wear a tuxedo. Just a plain dark gray suit with blue shirt and red tie.
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin
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Last edited by pianolady on Wed May 09, 2007 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.