Performance Sunday, May 21, 2017 | 3 PM

Maurizio Pollini

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
When Maurizio Pollini comes to Carnegie Hall, his performance is not just an eagerly awaited recital, it’s a feast for anyone hungry for the poetry of great pianism. Audiences last experienced Pollini’s “searching musicianship and exquisite pianism” (The New York Times) in a 2015 Carnegie Hall recital. It’s time to feast again.


  • Maurizio Pollini, Piano


  • Two Nocturnes, Op. 27
  • Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47
  • Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52
  • Berceuse in D-flat Major, Op. 57
  • Scherzo No. 1
  • Two Nocturnes, Op. 55
  • Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

At a Glance

In a career that spanned less than two decades, Chopin revolutionized piano music in dozens of nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, and other solo pieces that imbued the superficial brilliance of the salon style with unprecedented poetic depth. Schumann, who declared that “imagination and technique share dominion side by side” in Chopin’s music, likened his playing to the sound of an Aeolian harp, as exemplified by the undulating arpeggios that characterize the two Op. 27 Nocturnes.

Chopin deliberately set out to work on a grander scale in his ballades, scherzos, and sonatas. As their names suggest, the Ballade in A-flat Major and Ballade in F Minor can be thought of as tonal narratives: extended multi-section works with sharply characterized themes and subtle tonal shadings. Their dramatic energy contrasts with the intimacy of the Berceuse in D-flat Major, a tender lullaby that wears its virtuosity lightly. The B-Minor Scherzo and the two Op. 55 Nocturnes further illustrate Chopin’s innovative approach to the keyboard, as well as the extraordinary range and subtlety of his musical language.

Chopin demonstrated uncompromising independence in both his artistic and his private life. Liszt characterized him as “one of those original beings” who are “adrift from all bondage.” It was arguably the unparalleled range and subtlety of his pianism that enabled him to cast off the shackles of musical convention so successfully in works like the great Sonata in B Minor.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos I.