28 March 2024

P.R. Jenkins

Maurizio Pollini has died

On 23 March, Maurizio Pollini, one the few remaining pianists who worked with Karajan, died in his hometown Milan.

Born in 1942, Pollini achieved international acclaim at the age of 18, when he won the Warsaw Chopin Competition. In the following years he embarked on an incomparable career, succeeding both in contemporary piano music by Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono and in the classical and romantic repertoire, especially Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann.

Between 1974 and 1980 Pollini and Karajan performed six concerts in Berlin and Salzburg playing Schumann and Brahms’ 2nd piano concerto. They met on stage for the last time in 1980 for a charity concert (I assume it was to support the victims of the Irpinia earthquake a month before), performing Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto.

Karajan and Pollini never made any studio recordings, maybe because in those years Pollini was one of Karl Böhm’s favourite pianists for recordings of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

This is a live recording of Karajan’s and Pollini’s first encounter with Schumann’s piano concerto in Salzburg in 1974. A rare document in astonishingly good sound quality.


Watch here Maurizio Pollini recalling his youth in Milan (mentioning Karajan too).

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