Bartók Piano Concertos
These two concertos, products of Bartok's most intransigent radicalism, have been well served on LP—notably by Anda, Bishop-Kovacevich and Ashkenazy. But Pollini is the obvious candidate for elevation to CD status. In full virtuoso flight he is a breathtaking pianist and his razor-sharp articulation suits this style perfectly. So do the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Abbado and the vivid DG recording.
As usual when these works are heard side by side, the Second Concerto sounds like an authentic artistic statement and the First more like a manifesto. But Pollini declaims both with the utmost conviction (it is far more than a case of maximized aggression) and this issue could well win new friends for these challenging masterpieces.'