The legendary Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini was giving a recital in a packed Philharmonie de Paris. Pollini had to rest for a full month after he fell and had to cancel several dates (Aix…).
Fortunately, his Parisian rendez-vous did take place and I managed to find an almost last minute ticket – the concert was sold out since Summer 2016!
The 1st part of the evening was dedicated to Chopin, the 2nd to Debussy ; these are 2 composers he often chooses to “mix” in his recitals, and they usually work very well together!
He opened with Chopin’s 2 Nocturnes op. 27. No rush, a wonderful bel canto, a superb rendition. Next were Ballades No.3 & 4, and a sublime Berceuse, with the exact same qualities as the Nocturnes. He ended this excellent first half with Chopin’s 1st Scherzo where he displayed once again all his understanding of the Polish composer.
The Debussy part comprised the Book II of the Préludes. Were particularly enjoyable “Brouillards” (you could sense the mist!), “Feuilles mortes” (closing my eyes, I had the impression to see the leaves falling from the trees, swirling down to the ground), “Bruyères”, “Général Lavine – eccentric” (perfectly eccentric indeed!), “La Terrasse des audiences du clair de lune” (what a beautiful rendition of this wonderful vision of night) and the last 4 Préludes ending with the terribly demanding “Feux d’artifice” and its Marseillaise ghost.
The audience stood up like a single man to give the maestro a standing ovation – and they did again after each encore.
Pollini played Debussy’s “La Cathédrale engloutie” from the Book I, Chopin’s 3rd Scherzo and 1st Ballade, a magnificent conclusion to this concert!