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Customer Reviews

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on 17 February 2004
Pollini is always a musician before a pianist. Whilst his technique is titanic, it is never so in the persuit of pedantic accuracy and always second to musicianship, which is refreshing in today's world of mechanical perfection. These are brilliant performances of Beethoven's finest and most profound music for piano and I cannot recommend it enough.
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on 21 January 2006
When Deutsche Gramohon used the word Legendary on the sleeve of this album, they could not have found a better word. Pollini's recordings of the "HammerKlavier" and the other late sonatas are unmatched by any other pianist. Much like the works of Chopin, a pianist needs virtuosity and muscianship to do these works justice, qualities rarely found in a single pianist. Pollini upholds both and truly justifies the lable, legendary. A brilliant collection that any lover of Beethoven simply can not ignore.
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Without a doubt the late piano sonatas of Beethoven represent something very special in the musical world. And within this context is the mighty and formidable 'Hammerklavier Sonata (No 29 in B flat).
So what about some great pianists' sets?
Perhaps Schnabel, Solomon, Kempff, Arrau, Gilels, Brendel, Barenboim or Paul Lewis?
Or maybe Maurizio Pollini. These recordings were made in 1976/7. Still they stand the test of time. There is purity of tone and style. An unfussy, uncomplicated version of No 28 starts the first CD. Pollini produces the required power to meet with the Hammerklavier No.29 and interest is sustained through its lovely slow movement, leading to the flying, fugal sparks of the final movement. All the performances are structurally sound, and excellent technique maintains the momentum of the music, whether in the Variations of No 30 in E or the Fugue in No 31 in A flat. Everything can be heard and repeatedly listened to.
I used to play No 31 in A flat. The thing that immediately strikes me about Pollini's performance is his faithfulness to Beethoven's expressed intentions in the score. Then, with a fine performance of No 32 in C minor with neat trills Pollini rounds off this memorable experience.
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on 5 March 2011
The piano sonata is a little drama in itself, each one evoking some theme or emotion.
In this case Beethoven is a romantic master expressing his deep feelings and agitated spirit on it's own scores.
The same way Pollini knows well how to extracts and show us this deep and diverse emotions wrote dryly on the pentagrams.
If you like this platform and Beethoven, this set is a delight, masterly played, getting all the strength of a young and blood Pollini's in a crystal clear recording. Highly recommended.
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on 29 July 2015
I have fond memories of Pollini playing Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic and Karl Bohm conducting, where Pollini's crystalline playing is tempered by VPO's and Bohm's warmth. Here Pollini is on his own, and uses his phenomenal technique to great effect in shaping the architecture of the variations and clarifying the parts of the fugues. Those who listen to these late sonatas as imposing edifices may like Pollini's way, but I miss a sense of exuberance in the finale of Op 101, the last degree of sublimity in the slow movement of Op 106, and there is a certain lack of poetry in Opp 109 & 110
Those who prefer their (late) Beethoven as lofty masterpieces will like Pollini's interpretations and will disagree with my 2-star score, but I write this review for those who look for inwardness in late Beethoven in which case Pollini may not be your best guide.
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on 17 September 2015
Great Great Great!!!!
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on 4 November 2013
Excellent performance.
Pollini plays this late Beethoven with an understanding of the uniqueness of theses pieces. An excellent piano tome.
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