Maurizio Pollini, Piano – Dresden Staatskapelle, Christian Thielemann, conductor – June 12, 2011 – Radio France –
Piano legend Maurizio Pollini this week, with the Dresden Staatskapelle led by Christian Thielemann in a program of music by Brahms and Max Reger. Starting with the Tragic Overture, followed by Reger’s Romantic Suite for Orchestra op. 125 and ending with Brahms Piano Concerto Number 1 with Maurizio Pollini as soloist.
Maurizio Pollini was born in Milan to the Italian rationalist architect Gino Pollini, who has been said to be the first to bring Modernist architecture to Italy in the 1930s, and his wife Renata Melotti (sister of the Italian sculptor Fausto Melotti). Pollini studied piano first with Carlo Lonati, until the age of 13, then with Carlo Vidusso, until he was 18. He received a diploma from the Milan Conservatory and won both the International Ettore Pozzoli Piano Competition in Seregno (Italy) in 1959 and the VI International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1960. Arthur Rubinstein, who led the jury, declared Pollini the winner of the competition, allegedly saying: “that boy can play the piano better than any of us”. Following his success at the competition, Pollini didn’t perform for a year in order to expand his musical experience, leading to erroneous rumors that he had become a recluse. Soon afterwards, he recorded Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 in E minor with the Philharmonia Orchestra under the Polish conductor Paul Kletzki for EMI, and taped performances of Chopin’s etudes. When the Philharmonia offered Pollini a series of concerts, he experienced what EMI producer Peter Andry has called “an apparent crisis of confidence”. After this, he studied with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, from whom he is said to have acquired “a precise technique and emotional restraint”, although some have expressed a concern that Michelangeli’s influence resulted in Pollini’s playing becoming “mannered and cold”. During the early 1960s, Pollini limited his concertizing, preferring to spend these years studying by himself and expanding his repertoire.
Christian Thielemann became principal conductor and music director of the Munich Philharmonic in September 2004. He stepped down from his Munich post in 2011, after disputes with orchestra management over final approval of selection of guest conductors and programs for the orchestra. In October 2009, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden announced the appointment of Thielemann as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2012/13 season. His current contract with Dresden was through 2019. In November 2017, the Staatskapelle Dresden announced the extension of Thielemann’s contract as chief conductor through 31 July 2024. In May 2021, Barbara Klepsch, the Culture Minister of Saxony, announced that Thielemann is to conclude his tenure with the Staatskapelle Dresden at the close of his current contract, at the end of July 2024.
Thielemann is a regular conductor at the Bayreuth Festival, following his début in 2000 with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and at the Salzburg Festival. With the decision in September 2008 of the Richard Wagner Festival Foundation to appoint Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier to succeed Wolfgang Wagner as directors of the Bayreuth Festival, Thielemann was named musical advisor. In June 2015, the Bayreuth Festival formally announced the appointment of Thielemann as its music director.
Thielemann attracted controversy after attribution of anti-semitic remarks to him in 2000, regarding Daniel Barenboim, which Thielemann subsequently denied. Other controversy has related to Thielemann’s publication of opinions in sympathy with the Pegida movement.
In 2003, Thielemann was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz). In October 2011, he received honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2015, Thielemann won the Richard Wagner Award (Richard-Wagner-Preis) of Leipzig. He served in the Humanitas Programme as Visiting Professor in Opera Studies at Oxford University in January 2016. In 2019, he made his first conducting appearance in the New Year’s Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Relax and enjoy.
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