Not least because it announced a career...and what a star in the illustrious firmament we can classify with the older generation of Weissenberg, Richter, Horowitz you name it. Technically, if not always emotionally or interpretively, Pollini is their equal. Only Argerich can stand in his company today. Is it surprising they were both pupils of the legendary Michelangeli? Not surprising they both share the master's white hot temperament yet icy cold detachment.
When this recording came out in the 1970s it caused a sensation among critics and queues at the record shops. It has since remained a reliable benchmark to judge all other performances.
Did Pollini realise the potential he showed then? There are critics. But his concerts are sold out many times over. And in the recording studio he offers a very grand view of the piano literature, not for him the settling on this or that single recital like a butterfly stretching its wings in a showy display of virtuosity to woo the celebrity image conscious record buying public of today. Instead Pollini has continued to offer pianism and concentrated interpretations that have been an education and a pleasure to purchase and listen and re-listen to. As we go forward into the 21st century he stands ahead of all other pianists currently active in the concert hall in terms of technique and depth.
Having spoken so highly of the "contributing artist", as Windows Media calls him, what do you get on this disc?
If you like your steaks rare, with the blood seeping out of the meat, and served with an excellent sauce poivre, possibly in a first rate restaurant such as the Au Boeuf Couronne, Jean Jaures, Paris or similar, then this playing will be completely to your liking.
It is red blooded Chopin playing that will raise the hair on the back of your neck, tingle your spine, and generally leave you gasping.
NOT to have or buy this disc is unforgiveable!