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. (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.

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

Brendel plays with a warm yet carefully calibrated grace.

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

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

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

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

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