Pollini's performance of these three movements from Stravinsky's Petrouchka and Prokofiev's Piano Sonata no.7 were recorded in 1971, and his performance of Webern's Piano Variations and Boulez's Piano Sonata were recorded in 1976. These recordings were originally released by Deutsche Grammophon on two separate LP records; the first in 1972, and the second in 1978. They have now been refurbished and combined on this 68+ minute disc. One does not have to be familiar with the sound of the original recordings to appreciate Deutsche Grammophon's restoration job; the sound is clear and should be satisfactory to any listener.
I love Stravinsky's own reading of Petrouchka (CSO, 1960) - it was my first introduction to his music, and it is still the recording of the ballet which, for me, is closest to heart, but Pollini's performance on this disc is indeed amazing. It's in a class of its own, and I therefore suggest for people who like Petrouchka to listen to this performance of it, as it will allow new comprehensions of melodic lines that earlier might not have appeared as tangible. The main reason for my having listened to this disc at least 20 times during the last few weeks is because of the Prokofiev tracks; both music and performance are beyond my vocabulary, but I suppose are describable as stunning. This disc has been my first introduction to both Prokofiev's and Boulez's music, and I must say that I favour the music of Prokofiev - it is easily digested in comparison to Webern's and Boulez's music, but the performances here are all impressive; they will not allow you to listen with anything but a keen ear. This has to be one of the most tasteful and thrilling piano-albums of modern classical music. 10/10.