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John Ogdon - 70th Anniversary Edition


Release Date: 08/14/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 92747   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Béla BartókJohn OgdonAlexander GlazunovSergei Rachmaninov,   ... 
Performer:  John Ogdon
Conductor:  Sir Malcolm SargentLawrence FosterPaavo BerglundJohn Pritchard,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraNew Philharmonia OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 5 Hours 15 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Of the 18 works selected for EMI's retrospective to mark what would have been the late pianist's 70th birthday (he died in 1989 at 52), 13 are new to CD, including two previously unreleased concerto performances. Two Rachmaninov collaborations with John Pritchard and the Philharmonia dominate Disc 1. After the Second concerto's incisive and poetic first movement come a draggy Adagio sostenuto and an underplayed, inhibited Allegro Scherzando. Although the piano is unusually recessed in the unreleased Paganini Rhapsody's mix (the primary reason why the recording was rejected), it rightfully allows the concertante-like orchestration to assume center stage. Collectors who prefer a lyrical, easygoing journey through this work (i.e. Read more Cliburn/Kondrashin) will sympathetically respond to Ogdon/Pritchard (I personally like my Pag Rhaps lean, mean, and diabolic, à la Kapell/Reiner, Weber/Fricsay, and Wild/Horenstein).

Ogdon's elegant simplicity in the Fauré Ballade contrasts with his unbridled, breathless dash through the Litolff Scherzo, both alertly backed by Louis Frémaux and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. With the Philharmonia Orchestra on vintage form, John Barbirolli's red-blooded and beautifully balanced conducting unwittingly upstages Ogdon's accomplished but careful playing in the Tchaikovsky First and Franck Symphonic Variations. However, the pianist's imagination takes wing (as do his fingers) in the Liszt Hungarian Fantasy and Spanish Rhapsody (in Busoni's orchestral version), again with Pritchard at the podium.

Ogdon brings prodigious color and tonal variety to Bartók's First Concerto, where the snarling brass and vigorous percussion really hit home courtesy of EMI's vivid, robust sonics. You might not associate Malcolm Sargent with Bartók, yet his sympathetic support proves a welcome surprise in this previously unpublished recording. Also notable is how well and idiomatically Ogdon responds to the Glazunov First Concerto's Romantic riches (check out the fiery first-movement cadenza).

Perhaps Ogdon's own Piano Concerto and Piano Sonata reveal more about the facility with which the composer/pianist grasps the surface styles of Bartók, early Prokofiev, and Sorabji than they attest to a genuine creative force at work. I find Ogdon's Theme and Variations that opens Disc 4 more interesting from a textural, harmonic, and formal standpoint.

As a Liszt player, Ogdon could be brilliant or boring, sometimes within the same work. The B minor sonata's lyrical sections tend to dawdle, yet the bravura writing inspires Ogdon to swashbuckling heights that would humble many of today's virtuoso hotshots; the Fifteenth Hungarian Rhapsody's declamatory chords are powerful and decisive, yet its rapid filigree falls flat; the first Valse Oubliée hovers between caressing sensitivity and glib rushing, while En Rêve is calm and fleet, as though Ogdon is throwing the piece away. Everything comes together for a propulsive, insightful, and technically mesmerizing rendition of the late and obscure Csárdás Macabre. All told, this is a fascinating if uneven anthology that surely will capture the attention of Ogdon's admirers.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1, Sz 83 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Budapest, Hungary 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 1 by John Ogdon
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1970 
3.
Sonata for Piano by John Ogdon
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1972 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 92 by Alexander Glazunov
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910-1911; Russia 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1900 - 1901). 
6.
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; USA 
Date of Recording: 1963 
7.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1874 - 1875). 
8.
Hungarian Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, S 123 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1852; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1963 
9.
Rhapsodie espagnole for Piano, S 254 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1863; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1963 
Notes: Arranger: Ferruccio Busoni. 
10.
Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1964 
11.
Csárdás macabre for Piano, S 224 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882; Rome, Italy 
12.
Valses oubliées (4) for Piano, S 215: no 1 in F sharp major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Rome, Italy 
13.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 15 in a "Rákóczy March" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1886 
14.
Ballade for Piano and Orchestra in F sharp major, Op. 19 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; France 
15.
Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, M 46 by César Franck
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
16.
Concerto symphonique for Piano no 4 in D minor, Op. 102: Scherzo by Henry Charles Litolff
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1852; France 
17.
Theme and Variations for Piano by John Ogdon
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1966 
18.
Nocturne for Piano, S 207 "En ręve" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Rome, Italy 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Op. 18: I. Moderato
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Op. 18: II. Adagio sostenuto
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Op. 18: III. Allegro scherzando
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation IV (Piů vivo)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation V (Tempo precedente)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation VI (L'istesso tempo)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation VII (Meno mosso, a tempo moderato)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation VIII (Tempo I)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation IX (L'istesso tempo)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation X ([crotchet] = [crotchet])
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XI (Moderato)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XII (Tempo di Minuetto)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XIV (L'istesso tempo)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XV (Piů vivo. Scherzando)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XVI (Allegretto)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XVII ([crotchet] = [crotchet])
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XVIII (Andante cantabile)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XIX (A tempo vivace)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XX (Un poco piů vivo)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XXII (Un poco piů vivo - Alla breve)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XXIII (L'istesso tempo)
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43: Variation XXIV (A tempo un poco meno mosso)
Ballade in F sharp Op.19
Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4 in D minor Op. 102
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor Op. 23: I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso - Allegro con spirito
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor Op. 23: II. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo I
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor Op. 23: III. Allegro con fuoco
Symphonic Variations: Poco allegro -
Symphonic Variations: Allegretto quasi Andante -
Symphonic Variations: Molto piů lento -
Symphonic Variations: Allegro non troppo
Hungarian Fantasia S123 (2007 Digital Remaster): Andante mesto -
Hungarian Fantasia S123 (2007 Digital Remaster): Allegro eroico -
Hungarian Fantasia S123 (2007 Digital Remaster): Molto adagio, quasi fantasia -
Hungarian Fantasia S123 (2007 Digital Remaster): Allegretto alla Zingarese -
Hungarian Fantasia S123 (2007 Digital Remaster): Vivace assai
Rhapsodie espagnole S254 (2007 Digital Remaster): Lento -
Rhapsodie espagnole S254 (2007 Digital Remaster): Andante moderato (Folies d'Espagne) -
Rhapsodie espagnole S254 (2007 Digital Remaster): Allegro (Jota aragonese) -
Rhapsodie espagnole S254 (2007 Digital Remaster): Non troppo allegro

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