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Much to admire, little to love
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.