Happy Birthday, Mr. Pollini — And Mr. Brendel (And You, Mr. Michelangeli!)

The Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, captured in a 1968 portrait. He turns 70 years old today. i i

hide captionThe Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, captured in a 1968 portrait. He turns 70 years old today.

Erich Auerbach/Getty Images
The Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, captured in a 1968 portrait. He turns 70 years old today.

The Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, captured in a 1968 portrait. He turns 70 years old today.

Erich Auerbach/Getty Images

There must be something pianistically felicitous about the 5th of January, because today not only marks Maurizio Pollini's 70th birthday, but it's also Alfred Brendel's 81st. And it would have been Arturo Benedetto Michelangeli's 92nd birthday today had he not passed away in 1995.

To celebrate all that virtuosity, here are three video clips that embody the artistry of these keyboard titans.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Pollini — And Mr. Brendel (And You Too, Mr. Michelangeli)

Cover for Chopin: Nocturnes

Maurizio Pollini: Chopin, Nocturne Nocturne No.8, Op.27 No.2

  • Artist: Maurizio Pollini
  • Album: Chopin: Nocturnes
  • Song: No. 2 in D flat major. Lento sostenuto

This live performance is a bit controversial due to Pollini's fleet pace, but his lean directness is just what his acolytes crave.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "No. 2 in D flat major. Lento sostenuto"
  • Album: Chopin: Nocturnes
  • Artist: Maurizio Pollini
  • Label: Universal Distribution
  • Released: 2005
YouTube
 
Cover for Schubert: Impromptus

Alfred Brendel: Schubert, Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 3

  • Artist: Alfred Brendel
  • Album: Schubert: Impromptus
  • Song: Impromptus (4) for piano, D. 899 (Op. 90) [No. 3 in G Flat]

Brendel plays with a warm yet carefully calibrated grace.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Impromptus (4) for piano, D. 899 (Op. 90) [No. 3 in G Flat]"
  • Album: Schubert: Impromptus
  • Artist: Alfred Brendel
  • Label: Philips Classics
YouTube
 
Cover for Claude Debussy: Préludes, Vol. 1; Images

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli: Debussy, 'Reflets Dans L'Eau'

  • Artist: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
  • Album: Claude Debussy: Préludes, Vol. 1; Images
  • Song: Images (3), for piano, Set I, L. 110 [I. Reflets dans l'eau]

Michelangeli brings cool ripples of water and light to this poetic first section of Debussy's two-volume Images.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Images (3), for piano, Set I, L. 110 [I. Reflets dans l'eau]"
  • Album: Claude Debussy: Préludes, Vol. 1; Images
  • Artist: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
YouTube
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.