Great music reduced to finger exercises
Richard Steiger | Murray, KY USA | 05/26/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"What has happened to Pogorelich? He was always an oddball, but in the old days he was an interesting oddball with some brilliantly provocative recordings to his credit, icluding his Chopin Funeral March Sonata and (best of all) his ravel and Prokofiev. I also enjoyed his Pictures at an Exhibition coupled with the wackiest (hypnotically slow) performances of Ravel's Valses ever. But this DVD is mostly awful. There are a few exceptions. The Saraband of the second English suite is well done, though Pogo plays the "double" (ornamented version) as a separate movement rather than integrating it as a repeat, so we end up hearing every section four times! The rest of the Suite is monochromatic, particuarly the last two movements. The Scarlatti is astonishingly charmless. Take the k 450 sonata as one example among many. It is obviously inspired by Spanish dance music, but Pogo simple goose steps his way through it. Astonishing! The Beethoven sonata is even worse, though I admit I didn't listen to the whole thing. The sonata opens mezzo forte and pretty much continues that way through the rest of the movement, with Pogo ignoring virtually all of Beethoven's dynamic markings. The development is particularly awful, and that's where I'd had enough. To be fair the camera work is excellent. Pogorelich's facial expressions run the gamut from sullen pouting to vaguely romantic yearning. I really don't care about such matters (the expression should be in the music, not the face), but wouldn't it be possible to express some joy, or even modest pleasure, in the act of music making. But that's the problem here: joylessness. If that's what you want, this DVD is for you. Otherwise, pass on this one."