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Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Stravinsky: 3 Movements from Petrushka
Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, Claudio Abbado
Bartók: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Stravinsky: 3 Movements from Petrushka
Genre: Classical
 

      
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Still the best
Matthew D. White | New Orleans, LA | 05/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This disc is a re-packaging of the original DG release that did not include the Stravinsky as filler. I am not sure if it has been remastered, but this is still one of the best classical analog recordings I have ever heard, and a pretty good case for analog recording loyalty.That said, in comparison with other versions of these concertos (Frisay, Ashkenazy), these are far and away the best, most powerful Bartok concerto performances, and Pollini seems to be *the* modern master, here at the peak of his powers.In Concerto #2, pay special attention to the cadenza near the end of the first movement, which shows Pollini displaying an astounding level of digital control; a veritable X-ray of the piano part, where I can clearly hear the strettos and cross-rhythms. The cadenza contains a joking false start, then a build up of a four-note fragment passed hand to hand; at its peak point there is a pause where Pollini can be heard emitting a clearly audible exhaling grunt, then he dives into a statement of the main theme with such reckless virtuosity and feeling that I often feel compelled to listen to this one moment over and over before I can get my fill of its sheer ecstatic joy. For anyone who thinks Bartok's music is too heavy on abstraction, this moment is overflowing with the human element.That is just one single moment on this amazing disc. I'd have to say that this CD is an absolute must in any classical collection, and certainly in the top three for any Bartok enthusiast. It has yet to be topped."