Saturday, September 24, 2016

Alfred Cortot Plays Chopin (Biddulph)

At the Paris Conservatoire Alfred Cortot studied piano with Decombes, one of Chopins last pupils, and then with Louis Diemer, winning a first prize in 1896. Immeditely he was heard and admired as an interpreter of Beethoven's concertos at the Colonne and Lamoureux concerts, and he also appeared with Eduard Risler in concerts of two-piano arrangements of Wagner's music In 1898 he was appointed first as a choral coach, and then as assistant conductor, at Bayreuth, where he worked until 1901 under Mottl and Richter. This experience enabled him to prepare and conduct the first Paris performance of Gotterdammerung (May, 1902) and a notable Tristan (June, 1902). His Societe de Festivals Lyriques (1902) was followed by the formation of a concert society for which he conducted the first performances in France of Parsifal (in concert form), Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Brahms’ Requiem, as well as still unpublished works by Chausson, Magnard and Roussel. In 1904 he was entrusted with the directions of the concerts given by the Societe nationale and also engaged to conduct the series of Concerts Populaires at Lille.This activity as conductor, which made Cortot one of the leading figures in French musical life before he was 30, did not dampen his enthusiasm for piano although it inevitably limited the number of his performances. In 1905 the Cortot- Thibaud- Casals trio was founded and immediately became, and for many years remained, the most admired ensemble of its kind. From 1907 to 1917 Cortot was a professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire, but his activities as a soloist in Europe and the USA made it impossible for him to devote regular, uninterrupted periods to academic teaching. He therefore founded in 1919 The Ecole Normale de Musique, for which he appointed a distinguished staff of teachers, while he himself was responsible for interpretation classes which were to become legendary. In 1943 he founded the "Société de Musique de Chambre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire". As a pianist he was remarkable for kis intimate understanding of Romantic music, especially Schumann, though his Chopin was prized very highly and continues, even in the comparatively primitive recordings available, to dazzle pianists by its lyrical delicacy and nobility. He was an ardent champion of the new French piano music of his day, and devoted three volumes to its exposition. Cortot made editions of most of Chopin’s piano music (and some by Liszt, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Weber) ; they are ‘editions de travil’ which include technical exercise related to the music, and annotations. Cortot’s more general observations of piano technique provided material for a book entitled Rational principles of Piano Technique published in 1928. Cortot was an avid and systematic collector and he cared for and catalogued his substantial library of musical autographs, literature, first and early editions, letters, portraits, coins and postage stamps. The literature fell under 13 headings, but only the first volume of the catalogue was published (Bibliotheque Alfred Cortot — Première Partie : Traités & autres ouvrages théoriques des XVe, XVIe, XVIIe & XVIIIe Siècles, Paris, 1936). After his death in 1962 the printed music, some of great rarity, was dispersed mainly between the British Museum,The Newberry Library in Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley. Important manuscripts were bought for the Lehmann Foundation in the Pierpoint-Morgan Library in New York.

Source :

Alfred Cortot
Frédéric Chopin


The Four Ballades
1 Ballade n° 1 in G Minor, Op. 23*  8:50
2 Ballade n° 2 in A Minor, Op. 38  6:50
3 Ballade n° 3 in A-Flat Major, Op. 47  6:41
4 Ballade n° 4 in F Minor, Op. 52  9:43

5 Nocturne in E-Flat Major, Op. 9 n° 2  4:16

Piano Sonata n° 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 35
6 I. Grave - Doppio Movimento  4:49
7 II. Scherzo  4:22
8 III. Marche funèbre  6:29
9 IV. Presto  1:22

Piano Sonata n° 3 in B Minor, Op. 58
 10 I. Allegro  8:29
11 II. Scherzo - Molto vivace  2:43
12 III. Largo  7:05
13 IV. Finale - Presto non tanto  5:06


Alfred Cortot - p

Recorded at Small Queen's Hall, London ; February 11, 1929 & June 7, 1929* [Op. 23, 38, 47 & 52] ; Studio C, Small Queen's Hall, London ; March 19, 1929 [# 5] ; December 11, 1928 [# 6-8] ; & May 13, 1931 [# 10-13]


Pippo said...

Great Cortot ! there is a clip with him teaching in "The Piano" movie that I have, my piano teacher Franco Cristina (if he was still alive would be now 103 years old) had lessons in his youth from Cortot.
Once again, thank you Melanchthon

musician3 said...

AMAZING...............................THANK YOU FOR ALL

Melanchthon said...

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thank you very much Mel

jazmen said...