Stories » Maurizio Pollini plays Kennedy Center - Fortas chamber series with emotion and brilliance / Washington Post

Top 10 for Aug

Maurizio Pollini plays Kennedy Center - Fortas chamber series with emotion and brilliance / Washington Post

Bookmark and Share

Maurizio Pollini and Martha Argerich are often presented as the yin and yang of brilliant pianism: he, the intellectual; she, the instinctive. In real life, of course, no dichotomy is so straightforward. But the comparison lingered in mind on Tuesday night. A few months after Argerich, freewheeling and unorthodox, received the Kennedy Center Honor, it was Pollini's turn to take the Concert Hall stage on the Fortas chamber series, moving out with small, brisk, tight steps as if his tailcoat were a corset, the image of containment.

The recital focused entirely on Chopin, offered in generous and familiar helpings, but transformed through the autumnal gaze of a 75-year-old pianist who seems, in person, more venerable even than his years. He played nothing too unusual, and nothing too easy, and refuted stereotypes as he performed: He was neither unemotional nor technically perfect. What Pollini conjures up is the appearance of technical perfection, and the shape of emotion. The Concert Hall was packed, and - rarely for this venue - almost no one left when the concert was over until the last note of the last (the second) encore.

READ THE FULL Washington Post ARTICLE