Here Comes The Son: Daniele Pollini’s Solo DG Debut

Review by: Jed Distler

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Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

Judging from his solo-piano debut recording for Deutsche Grammophon, it appears that Daniele Pollini is a different kind of pianist from his celebrated father, Maurizio Pollini. You notice this right away in Chopin’s Op. 10 Etudes. Whereas the elder Pollini’s impeccable articulation is akin to a master etcher, his son is more of a sensualist and colorist. In Op. 10 No. 2, for example, the father nails each right hand 16th-note in place, like beads of steel. Daniele’s articulation is less obviously even, but he brings out more melodic details in the left hand accompaniment. The individual notes in the “Black Key” Etude’s right hand rotary patterns similarly glitter in Maurizio’s hands, while Daniele alternates detached and legato phrasing and opts for a slightly faster tempo. Both pianists take a brisk approach to the lyrical Op. 10 No. 6 and use more rubato than you’d expect. The only difference is that Daniele brings the tenor inner voice more to the fore, thereby generating more harmonic tension.

Although Daniele also shares his father’s affinity for Stockhausen, Maurizio so far has not recorded his efforts on behalf of this composer, while Daniele offers a superb account of Klavierstück IX. He shapes the opening section’s obsessive repeated chord with impressively controlled dynamic calibrations, and finds just the right timbral quality for each note in the slow and sustained central section. His curvaceous and colorfully alluring Scriabin Tenth Sonata perfectly captures the composer’s sensuous side, although his trills and tremolos could use more ferocity and definition in the manner of Horowitz or Ashkenazy. But he manages to make Vers la flamme’s numerous counter lines audible within the composer’s thick textural bonfires, and similarly molds the lines in the Op. 74 No. 4 Prelude so that the chords seem to move, rather than remain static. In short, Daniele Pollini is a distinctive artist in his own right, and I look forward to hearing more of his work.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Chopin Etudes Op. 10: Juana Zayas (Music & Arts), Scriabin: Piano Sonata No. 10: Vladimir Horowitz (Sony), Scriabin: Vers la flamme: Vladimir Horowitz (Sony)

  • Daniele Pollini (piano)

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