The young Yugoslavian pianist Ivo Pogorelich, born in 1958, has been a stormy petrel on the international music scene since his succès de scandale at the 1980 Chopin contest in Warsaw. There, though he didn’t win a top prize, his playing split the jury and galvanized the audience. His musical approach was peculiar, his personal behavior unpredictable, and his dress more that of a pop star than of a serious musician. All the elements for performing success seemed present, though for those who still take great music as art rather than show business, one question remained: Could the boy play?

Though Pogorelich’s American concerts prior to the present season had been inconclusive, the recordings necessary to evaluate his playing have not been long in coming. The earliest recording was a Vox Cum Laude LP[1] of works—chief among them, the...


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