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When Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini joined conductor Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden last summer, the result was electrifying. Happily, Deutsche Grammophon was there to capture the live performance, now preserved on this very special disc. As the orchestral harmonies swell and subside, punctuated by woodwind ornamentation and percussive rumbles, it is with great anticipation that the listener awaits the piano’s entrance in the first movement. And what an entrance it is. Never showy or overtly flamboyant, Pollini illustrates his formidable technique from the outset, maintaining an energy and clarity that will thrill Brahmsians. The Adagio movement is played with real sensitivity and class, and the rhythmic dalliances in the Rondo are expertly executed. By the time this issue of IP hits the stands, Pollini will have celebrated his seventieth birthday. If ever there was an argument that only those with life experience should dabble in Brahms, this is it.

CLAIRE JACKSON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing