Maurizio Pollini and Claudio Abbado perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4

Lucerne Festival 2004

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Program notes

Princes among men.

As brothers in music Maurizio Pollini and Claudio Abbado have much in common: their extreme sense of modesty, supreme elegance, immense culture, their search for musical perfection and their commitment to the music of their time, not to mention the fact that they were both born in Milan. To see them play together is a pure delight because they share the same conception of musical interpretation in that they never indulge in the slightest outpouring of sentiment but privilege emotions born of pure music. The same intense breath-taking feeling one might experience at the sight of an Antique Greek statue. Maurizio Pollini has the means of offering us this because he is a great virtuoso with complete control of the piano.

He always puts his gift at the service of the music as in Beethoven's Fourth Concerto, the masterpiece premiered in 1808 in Vienna which was an important turning point in the history of the piano. Released from all constraint, Beethoven signed with the Fourth Concerto the advent of the modern concerto. Like Claudio Abbado who recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven several times, one of which was filmed at the Saint Cecelia Academy in Rome, Maurizio Pollini has constantly reworked the thirty-two sonatas of the master from Bonn as well as the concertos. This gives an idea of the importance of the Beethovenian encounter of these two legends at the end of the summer of 2004 at the Lucerne festival with the Festival Orchestra. They both share the same desire to make each note of piano and each instrument of the orchestra heard, which in no way diminishes the consistency of the whole.

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