Pollini's traversal of Chopin's 19 Nocturnes (he leaves out the pair of posthumous ones) is one of his finest recordings in years. His long-lined yet detailed performances are comparable to the very different ones that have long stood at the pinnacle of recorded sets. Not as serene as Artur Rubinstein's, not as philosophical as Claudio Arrau's, nor as warm as Ivan Moravec's, Pollini's interpretations have their own allure. One is the way he shapes the melodies with a natural flow enhanced by his tonal beauty, less lean and streamlined than his usual way with Romantic music.
This selection received a Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Album" and "Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)." The comparative simplicity of Chopin's Op. 28 Preludes (when placed against his Etudes, for example) and their status as "miniatures" often hide the fact that they are, in fact, extremely demanding pieces, especially in interpretation. These works, probably written in homage to Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Well-Tempered Clavier,' have been the eminent domain of such great pianists as Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Claudio Arrau. The Preludes now belong to young Evgeny Kissin.