? A terrific collection of five great piano concertos performed by Maurizio Pollini, one of the 20th centuries great virtuosos. ? Filmed with the Vienna Philharmonic in the 1970s at the beautiful Musikverein in Vienna. ? K... more »arl Böhm conducts the Beethoven and Mozart concertos, while Claudio Abbado reads the Brahms. TRACK LIST DVD1: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3, op 37 Piano Concerto No. 5, op 73 "Emperor" Vienna Philharmonic Karl Böhm, conductor DVD2: Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19, KV 459 Piano Concerto No. 23, KV 488 Vienna Philharmonic Karl Böhm, conductor Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, op. 83 Vienna Philharmonic Claudio Abbado, conductor« less
"Maurizio Pollini, Jascha Heifetz and Herbert von Karajan are united by some of the strangest criticisms ever lobbed at artists of their stature: they are too good, too cool, too perfect, too detached, too brilliant, too remote und so weiter. Presumably, perfection is to be striven for but never achieved! George Bernard Shaw once suggested that Heifetz deliberately flub notes occasionally to prove his humanity. I assume Heifetz's eventual demise was proof enough of his mortality, even for Mr. Shaw! Yes, Pollini is a Pianist of remarkable brilliance. But he is hardly remote. And if he doesn't linger over every note with exagerated rubato, tears sloshing over the keys of his Steinway, he does something even more effective. He plays the notes as written! With passion, fire and intelligence. And this two DVD set is all the evidence you'll need.
The first disc presents Beethoven's Third and Fifth Piano Concertos with Mr. Pollini accompanied by the fabulous Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Karl Bohm. These performances are tight; the VPO sounding gorgeously lush, silky and burnished like a Victorian library with oak-paneled walls and plush velvet chairs. Their sound is unique, attributed to the age and hand-made quality of their instruments. Karl Bohm's funky Landler persona and Maurizio Pollini's Italianate and aristocratic playing are a fascinating mix. They give the Beethoven Concertos a mixture of serenity and power so appealing that I replayed the disc immediately. These performances all date from the late 1970's so Pollini adds some youthful bravado to his interpretation.
The second disc features Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 19 and 23. If you know these works, you probably love them as much as I do. These are the only Mozart Concertos Pollini has commited to disc thus far; their rarity heightens the sense of occasion one feels. The VPO under Bohm have these works in their bones, so perfect do they sound! Pollini plays them elegantly, with precision and grace. The crystal clarity of the DTS 5.1 sound highlights the beauty of the woodwinds in these lovely instrumental Operas. I replayed them immediately, as well.
The last work on Disc 2 is the Brahms four movement Second Piano Concerto, conducted by Claudio Abbado. This darkly Romantic masterpiece is given a passionate reading, fiery yet lyrical. Less autumnal than most, it is here that the mixture of Italy and Austria is most evident. The melodic lines are long and song-like; less melodrama than one hears under Von Karajan, for example. Pollini attacks the keys and by the work's conclusion is sweat-soaked. Hardly a lack of passion, if judged strictly on visual evidence! A fine performance of a truly magnificent Concerto.
If replaying DVD's is an indication of how a performance has inhabited one's soul, then this two DVD set has erected a condo in mine! Definitely a self-recommending release. If you respond to superbly aristocratic and (yes) passionate Piano playing, you will probably treasure it as I do. My strong recommendation for an important DVD set from Maurizio Pollini, the Vienna Philharmonic, Karl Bohm, Claudio Abbado and DGG.
A Celestial Experience.
Pupil | Malkuth | 03/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We have here one of the very finest orchestras, under the baton of one of the very finest conductors, in sublime communion with one of the greatest of pianists, performing some of the best works of the greatest composers, and altogether presented in superb sound and video.
So then...additional notes:
1) Pollini becomes a genuine prodigy whenever the the music engulfs his fears (usually in the second and third movements).
2) Every Adagio is sublime and good for your heart.
3) The Maestro Bohm and the Vienna Philharmonic sincerely love one another and you can tell.
Very highly recommended."
A beautiful experience
Alan Majeska | Bad Axe, MI, USA | 01/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maurizio Pollini's late 1970s film recordings of Beethoven Piano Concertos 3 and 5; Mozart Piano Concertos 19 and 23; and Brahms Piano Concerto 2 have it all: great pianism, beautiful playing by the Vienna Philharmonic, magnificent conducting by Karl Bohm (Beethoven, Mozart) and Claudio Abbado (Brahms), all adding up to one thing: a beautiful experience. These DVDs are a feast for the ears: great audio, and the eyes: great video. The 1970s Unitel films used in this DG release have held up very well in the vaults: there are no glitches or imperfections in the picture. The camera work is also excellent, and serves the music being performed.
In my perception, Pollini plays all the concertos here with an Italian grace and charm, relying more on Classical elements and a "lean" approach, than a more Romantic, heavy handed approach, especially in the Beethoven and Brahms works. I think also the sound of the Bohm-led items is slightly fuller bodied than Abbado's Brahms, but the sound in all 5 Concertos is very good.
For about $30.00, you can't go wrong with this release. Pollini's playing is beyond reproach, and to see the Vienna Philharmonic musicians playing is wonderful, too. There is no audience, and the recording venue: Vienna's Musikvereien, has wonderful acoustics - one of the best concert halls in the civilized world. It was worth alot to me to see Karl Bohm smile at Maurizio Pollini at the beginning of I, of Mozart's Piano Concerto 19 with it's humorous, scherzo like theme which begins the concerto. Highly recommended!"
Antonia Brentano | Leiden, The Netherlands | 02/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed this DVD. It contains a collection of some of the most beautiful piano concertos played by the renowned Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini. The visual aspect of this DVD is not that spectacular, you just see an orchestra with pianist performing the work, no audience. However, for you pianists out there, enough shots of the hands, great learning stuff. These are obviously the best performances of these concertos available on DVD. I feel that there are maybe better performances available on cd,like Zimerman/Bernstein for the Brahms, Michelangeli for the 3rd Beethoven, Anda for Mozart. The Emperor however is one of the best available. I really enjoyed this DVD, you can't go wrong buying it, great value! Enjoy."
someone | USA | 09/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've just watched the Mozart A Major Concerto from this DVD set. Pollini plays like an angel from heaven. Perfection. Piano playing this good I almost thought couldn't exist in reality, but here it does. I cannot understand those who say Pollini is too cool, unemotional, etc. While it is true that he never loses his composure for an instant, his playing is, in my opinion, full of feeling and the subtle nuances of a master. Throughout the viewing I had the feeling that something great was happening, and in the middle I had the feeling that music is a very special thing on this planet, that it comes from a higher realm. That it exists as a transport between this earth plane and higher levels of consciousness and reality. A performance that can make me feel that is very special to me."