Friday, July 27, 2007

Pollini plays "Feux d'artifice"

Legendary Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini performs Debussy's Feux d'artifice (fireworks) in Japan. This beautiful and exciting work is the last of the French composer's twenty-four preludes, which were finished in 1913. The video is completely out of sync with the audio for the first forty seconds, but appears to be more on target after this point.

Pollini's playing is completely economical here. Notice how his hands always display impeccable technical poise, and how often the fingers remain in contact with the keys even in the most agitated passagework. Particularly impressive is the delicate quality of sound during the soft glissandi in the middle of the piece (around 1:55 into the video).

Did you catch the distant-sounding fragment of "La Marseillaise" at the end? Remind yourself of this tune (it is the national anthem of France) and then watch again.