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Alfred Cortot - The Late Recordings Vol 2


Release Date: 05/09/2006 
Label:  Apr (Appian) Catalog #: 5572   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Henry PurcellFranz SchubertRobert SchumannFrédéric Chopin,   ... 
Performer:  Alfred Cortot
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although he was universally regarded as one of the greatest pianists of the last century, Cortot's later recordings have had a bit of bad press. Though he had a virtuoso technique it was fallible and the careless slips he was renowned for became more pronounced as he became older. It's true that some embarrasing recordings exist and a Beethoven sonata cycle went so badly it has never seen the light of day but in the right repertoire these aspects of his playing are not an issue and in recordings such as those presented here we can enjoy Cortot's wonderful musicality without the need to make any allowance for a faltering technique. The major work here is the complete first book of Debussy 'Préludes'. This set, recorded in the last Read more days of 78's, had only a limited life as an LP in 1953, from a technical point of view already out of date, but of course nowadays this is of no consequence when we have the glory of Cortot's playing to consider.

The Franck 'Prélude, Aria et Final' from 1947 has not been previously issued though passed by Cortot himself. Only one set of test pressings is known to exist, and it is missing the second of six sides, so to make a complete performance we have dubbed in the second side of this Cortot's earlier 1932 recording of the work. Perhaps the gems of this collection are the series of 'Encores' which Cortot recorded in 1948. These works presetn the essence of Cortot's style, his instantly recognizable singing line, his wonderful voicing of chords and the nobility of it all. It appears that when some of these titles were reissued on LP different takes, recorded on tape, were used so these versions are included as an appendix.

-- APR Recordings
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Works on This Recording

1.
Suites (8) for harpsichord, Z. 660-669: Suites 1 & 8: Minuet by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 04/19/1948 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
2.
Litanei auf das Fest Aller Seelen, D 343 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/19/1948 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
3.
Waldszenen, Op. 82: no 7, Vogel als Prophet by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/19/1948 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
4.
Nocturnes (3) for Piano, Op. 15: no 2 in F sharp major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
Date of Recording: 04/20/1948 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
5.
Songs (5), Op. 49: no 4, Wiegenlied by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/20/1948 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
6.
Prelude, Aria and Finale for Piano, M 23 by César Franck
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1887; France 
Date of Recording: 10/14/1947 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 20 Minutes 34 Secs. 
7.
Préludes, Book 1 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
Date of Recording: 10/24/1949 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 30 Minutes 27 Secs. 
8.
Concerto for Harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056: 2nd movement, Largo-Arioso by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/19/1948 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 

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