Sunday, 16 January 2011

Pollini Project, South Bank

Maurizio Pollini returns to the South Bank this year for a  concert series, "The Pollini Project". What they mean by "project" I don't know, as an artist of that stature is hardly a "project". Perhaps it's a tag to describe five disparate recitals that span most of Pollini's repertoire.

On 28th January, Bach The Well-tempered Klavier book 1. 15th February, Beethoven  Piano Sonatas  op 109, 110, 111. Nicely balanced with Schubert Piano Sonatas D 958. 959. 960 on 26th February.An opportunity to compare both composers as well as three works from the same period of each. You probably "need" both concerts. Oddly, Beethoven is nearly sold out but some good "piano side" tickets left, while swathes of Schubert seats left but not the coveted piano sides, all of which are sold. What does that say?

Then the one I booked a whole year ago, not knowing that Prince William would finally twig that you can't date someone for 10 years and not commit. They lose face and the Brand suffers. Chopin 24 Preludes, Debussy Etudes Book 2 and Pierre Boulez Piano Sonata no 2,. Lots of tickets left but all on the piano side are completely booked. This is a sign that those going know what they are doing. (discounts if you but all 5 concerts) The kind of audience who don't care as long as it's someone famous are scared off by anything remotely new (Debussy for goodness sake!)  But audiences who know the music know why they want to see Pollini's hands. (Please see my post Pumpkins pop Pollini)

On 25th May, Pollini wickedly mixes Chopin Berceuses and Barcarolles with Stockhausen Klavierstuck VII and IX. Again, the smart money has booked the Blue Side solid. If someone of Pollini's musical intelligence picks Boulez and Stockhausen, he's making a statement.This is a pianist who can do anything he wants so when he choses what he loves, pay attention. The Boulez Piano Sonata is a fantastically beautiful work, and Pollini is arguably even more charismatic than Aimard.
 photo credit : Mathias Bothor and DG

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