Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

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maestrob
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Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:41 pm

Image

Am immensely tempted by this one: comments?

Wallingford
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by Wallingford » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:04 pm

The cover's not too tempting. It's rather disheartening. Warner should've used a photo from when his hair was still black. By the time the present photo was taken, Cortot couldn't play two right notes in succession, and his already-faulty memory was further failing him.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

John F
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by John F » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:05 pm

The full contents are listed here:

http://www.amazon.com/Alfred-Cortot-Ann ... B008V1IR4Q

It looks pretty complete to me, though I haven't checked the details. Both acoustic and electric recordings of works like the Schumann concerto; both early and late versions of Carnaval and the Symphonic Etudes; the Beethoven sonatas at the end, including complete and fragmentary takes of some of them. Though an exclusive HMV artist for most of his life, he made quite a few acoustics for Victor in New York; whether they're included here I don't know off the top of my head, but I'm guessing at least some of them are.

I've collected lots of this material on LPs but if I hadn't, and if I were still acquiring records instead of the opposite, I'd get this box for sure.
John Francis

gperkins151
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by gperkins151 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:42 pm

maestrob wrote:Image

Am immensely tempted by this one: comments?
I've compared the transfers in that set to those on Biddulph and Naxos. These newer ones by Art and Son are are at least as good and in many cases, better. Paper sleeves, 80 page booklet. Performances are chronologically arranged. Looks like amazon third party sellers have this for $55. It would be a steal at twice that price.

I still regret not getting the Cziffra EMI one when it came out. I suspect that's how you'd feel if you missed this one.
George

maestrob
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:55 am

Yes, I'm sorry I missed the Cziffra box. I have his complete Chopin and he's glorious. I'm really leaning hard in a positive direction here!

maestrob
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:06 pm

John F wrote:The full contents are listed here:

http://www.amazon.com/Alfred-Cortot-Ann ... B008V1IR4Q

It looks pretty complete to me, though I haven't checked the details. Both acoustic and electric recordings of works like the Schumann concerto; both early and late versions of Carnaval and the Symphonic Etudes; the Beethoven sonatas at the end, including complete and fragmentary takes of some of them. Though an exclusive HMV artist for most of his life, he made quite a few acoustics for Victor in New York; whether they're included here I don't know off the top of my head, but I'm guessing at least some of them are.

I've collected lots of this material on LPs but if I hadn't, and if I were still acquiring records instead of the opposite, I'd get this box for sure.
Thanks for finding that, John. It's puzzling that he only recorded 6 of the Nocturnes, and I'm glad to see that they included his work conducting Bach. $55 plus shipping is really tempting........

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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by Lance » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:05 pm

I got this set immediately and have never regretted it. For $55, it is a STEAL for sure! When Cortot was good, he was very good. Towards the conclusion of his life, it may have been better for him NOT to commit his art to discs any longer. Many artists, it seems, follow that trail; it most notably shows up with singers, however.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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John F
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by John F » Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:15 pm

maestrob wrote:I'm glad to see that they included his work conducting Bach.
Have you heard Cortot's Brandenburgs? Really eccentric, and you know how I feel about freedom of tempo. My parents had the first concerto on Victor 78s, and I was shocked when I heard the same music in a modern recording.
John Francis

Modernistfan
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by Modernistfan » Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:52 pm

Of course, knowing my disdain for that overrated, Nazi-sympathizing note-dropper, I wouldn't touch this set even if the remastering were in super-super-duper-duper 48-bit seven-dimensional SACD.

John F
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by John F » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:58 pm

Do you also consign Wagner to outer darkness? As for "overrated," that dismisses a pretty large body of considered critical opinion, including quite a few CMG members. We could as easily say that you underrate him, if we knew what "ratings" you're talking about.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:45 am

Same thing happened to Paderewski, after he went into politics: his 1930's Chopin is horrendous, but his early acoustical recordings shine with brilliance and authority.

IN278S
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by IN278S » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:31 pm

The 40-CD set is not absolutely complete. You don't get his very first recordings, where he accompanies Félia Litvinne (those are on Marston); there's an alternative take of the Saint-Saëns Bourée from the 1952 Tokyo sessions (on the RCA Japan 2-CD set); there's also a test pressing of the Russian Dance from Petrushka that Marston will be releasing someday. And it looks like they've included a Chopin Mazurka that may not be Cortot at all (from the Fidelio/Concert Artist set?) But you'll get three CDs worth of Cortot's Beethoven from his late attempt at a sonata cycle, recorded too late but still fascinating, and a couple CDs of previously unreleased late Chopin recordings that turned out not too badly for the date (but these are works Cortot had already recorded in his better days.)

John F
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by John F » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:01 am

Thanks for those details - really worth knowing.
John Francis

Lance
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Re: Alfred Cortot 40CD Set

Post by Lance » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:31 am

Indeed, the cover photo does nothing for Cortot's appearance ... it even captured the smoke rising! He did not age particularly gracefully.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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