Stories » Unmannered visionary of the keys - Maurizio Pollini, plays annual Orchestra Hall recital / Chicago Tribune

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Unmannered visionary of the keys - Maurizio Pollini, plays annual Orchestra Hall recital / Chicago Tribune

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Maurizio Pollini's annual recitals at Orchestra Hall have long since become contemplations at twilight of repertory he has trod many times before. So it was on Sunday afternoon when the great Italian pianist presented a program of late Chopin keyboard works and the second book of Debussy's Preludes.

At 76, Pollini may no longer command the supreme technical authority that marked the pianist in his prime. Technical feats that once were achieved with effortless sweep now can feel hard-won, even dogged. Risks are fewer now, and pedaling cannot disguise occasional finger slips and smudged runs. But Pollini remains a clear-eyed musical aristocrat, an unmannered visionary of the keys, as the Debussy portion of his concert made apparent.

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