Pogorelich played Liszt's Dante sonata and Schumann's Fantasie before the break, then proceeded with Stravinsky's scenes from Petrushka and Brahms' Paganini variations after the break. This is really heavy fare for the best pianists, but at one time I considered Ivo the best of them all. Over the years, he's had his critics, some of whom complained that he hadn't aged well, losing focus in his interpretations and losing his technique as well, in the years since his wife had passed away. So, I tried to approach this recital as unbiased as I could.
In short, he still has that burnished tone on the Steinway, which allows him to project all dynamics and a million colours, and make them audible in the farthest corners. And he still has those million colours and touches at his disposal, and uses them all. The Liszt was extremely well done - as varied as I have ever heard it and ending with a great climax. The Schumann started off well, but suffered from quite a number of missed keys. Still the first movement was touching, its slow section played with a disturbing undercurrent that I never noticed before. The second movement didn't go well at all, however - it was loud, choppy, and again too many errors. The third movement was OKish, with some well done parts but overall, Pogo didn't recapture the magic.
I should tell you that at this time, while I was fascinated, piano students sitting next to me started shaking their heads in disgust or disappointment, and some of them didn't come back after the break. Which is unfortunate for them, because the Stravinsky found him again on fire, and the Paganini variations were spectacular.
Pogorelich hasn't played from memory for a while now, and he used an assistant to turn the pages. This gave us some unintended comic relief when the page turner couldn't follow the pianist and was late. Pogorelich finally flipped the pages himself and was clearly annoyed. He didn't gave any encores.
All in all, a good evening and I felt kind of sorry for all the lame criticisms leveled at him. He's always been a pianist for whom the score is just a starting point and he still is. Maybe his technique isn't as fluid as it once was - but he takes risks and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.