Chopin: 24 Preludes; Scherzo No 2, etc – review

Maurizio Pollini
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Maurizio Pollini's latest recital disc follows the same plan as his previous Chopin collection, grouping together works from the late 1830s by opus number, in this case Opp 27, 28, 30 and 31. That earlier disc, which included the B flat minor Sonata and the second Ballade, represented Pollini at his most magisterial; this one is not quite so convincing. The best of it, especially the B flat minor Scherzo, is superb, the virtuosity effortless, the grip on the formal structure utterly secure, but elsewhere, in the two Nocturnes of Op 27 the four mazurkas of Op 30, and most of all in the 24 Preludes Op 28, there's sometimes a chilly relentlessness about the playing, an impatience almost, that keeps the music at a distance. There may be just as much to admire as in Pollini's 1974 recording of the Preludes, but there's much less to love.

Contributor

Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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