Twenty years ago, pianist Maurizio Pollini recorded the first book of Debussy’s Préludes, a set of 12 enigmatic wonders published in 1913. To mark the centennial of the composer’s death, the legendary Italian-born artist explores the second book of Préludes with his latest release for Deutsche Grammophon.

“To my mind, the second book is more focused on innovation, on the extraordinary modernity that characterizes Debussy’s late work,” Pollini remarks in the disc’s liner notes.

For his annual SCP Piano Series recital on April 22, Pollini will perform the second book of Préludes; on the first half are works by Chopin: Prelude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 45; Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 60, and Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35 (Funeral March).

Pollini credits his appreciation of Debussy to his long experience of performing Chopin, whose music Debussy revered, and to which in later years, turned for inspiration. “Debussy had a great admiration for Chopin,” Pollini said. “Both Debussy and Ravel were true followers of Chopin. They understood his greatness.”

From Chicago, Pollini heads to New York’s Carnegie Hall for a recital April 29, where he will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his debut at that venue. He also made his U.S. premiere at the hall on Nov. 1, 1968, as soloist in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

For more information about the Symphony Center concert, click here.

TOP: Maurizio Pollini. | Photo: Mathias Bothor/Deutsche Grammophon