The sudden swerve to a new key in the middle of the Arabesque was given a special weight, which made this somewhat hackneyed piece seem new.
Dating royal bayreuth
The back-and-forth between charm and something darker was riveting.
The problem was that this urgency was no longer balanced by Pollini’s old feeling for piano sonority.
This became especially acute in the recital’s all-Chopin 2nd half.
Psychologists talk about the “halo effect”, that nimbus of awesome reputation, happy memories and giant expectations that surrounds a legendary performer.
It gilds the sound, and lends every note a feeling of inevitable genius.
It was very hard to resist the halo effect at Tuesday night’s concert from pianist Maurizio Pollini.He’s been among the top rank of pianists since 1960, and his wonderful Chopin and Schumann recordings are part of the fabric of many music-lovers’ lives.Several hundred extra seats were laid out at the back of the Festival Hall stage to accommodate the fans, and the quiet when he played was unusually intense.There’s something endearing about the way Pollini totters eagerly towards the piano, as if he’s still eager to try out an idea.As for the playing, there were times when it showed that the reverence paid to a stellar player can be entirely justified.The first half of the concert was given over to Schumann, and it showed the kind of insight into this complex composer that only a lifetime’s experience can bring.