Chopin: Polonaises - Pollini
Chopin: Polonaise No. 1 in C sharp minor, Op. 26 No. 1; Polonaise No. 2 in E flat minor, Op. 26 No. 2 Polonaise No. 3 in A major, Op. 40 No. 1 'Military' Polonaise No. 4 in C minor, Op. 40, No. 2 Polonaise No. 5 in F sharp minor, Op. 44 Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53 'Héroïque' Polonaise No. 7 in A flat major, Op. 61 'Polonaise-fantaisie'
“This is Pollini in all his early glory, in expertly transferred performances. Shorn of all virtuoso compromise or indulgence, the majestic force of his command is indissolubly integrated with the seriousness of his heroic impulse. Rarely will you be compelled into such awareness of the underlying malaise beneath the outward and nationalist defiance of the Polonaises. The tension and menace at the start of No 2 are almost palpable, its storming and disconsolate continuation made a true mirror of Poland's clouded history. The C minor Polonaise's denouement, too, emerges with a chilling sense of finality, and Pollini's way with the pounding audacity commencing at 3'00" in the epic F sharp minor Polonaise is like some ruthless prophecy of every percussive, anti-lyrical gesture to come. At 7'59" Chopin's flame-throwing interjections are volcanic, and if there's ample poetic delicacy and compensation (notably in the Polonaise-fantaisie, always among Chopin's most profoundly speculative masterpieces), it's the more elemental side of his genius, his 'canons' rather than 'flowers' that are made to sear and haunt the memory. Other pianists may be more outwardly beguiling, but Pollini's magnificently unsettling Chopin can be as imperious and unarguable as any on record. That his performances are also deeply moving is a tribute to his unique status.” --Gramophone Guide to Classical Music