Monday, February 6, 2017

Alfred Cortot Plays Short Works

Faced with Cortot's richness and coruscating wit the critic feels impotent indeed, happy to capture even the tiniest shard of such a magical elixir and charisma in words. For within a few bars the listener feels like a mountain walker drunk with a mixture of elation and rarefied air. Time and again the senses reel, caught by alternations of the most vertiginous brilliance and musical poignancy.
For this record Biddulph (who have already given us a two-disc set of Cortot's 1919-25 recordings, 10/94) have unearthed some astonishing gems. His whirl through Albéniz's Malagueña and joyous charge through the Seguidillas (a kind of Spanish Chopsticks) may be familiar, but what of Sous la Palmier ? Here Cortot spins a tale beneath the palms that would seduce a saint. As the insert-note so nicely puts it, all these performances have ''an almost tangible Iberian heat'', a lilt and insinuation that can make even the redoubtable Alicia de Larrocha sound sober and lacking in joie de vivre. Schubert's 12 Ländler, D681, too, seem to dance off the page, and in the "Arioso" from Bach's F minor Concerto (the pianist's own arrangement) Cortot shows himself an incomparable 'singer' of the keyboard. Even his finest partners in artistry (and they include Dame Maggie Teyte and Gerard Souzay) must have marvelled at that exquisitely floating pianissimo and his alternately full and delicate cantabile.
Then there is Cortot's Purcell selection, all within style but with that instantly recognizable rhythmic spring and vivacity, yet another recording of Saint-Saens's Etude en forme de valse (which made Horowitz pale with envy) and Chopin performances as spritely and elemental as any on record. The Berceuse's figurations foam and race with a happy disregard for tranquillity yet the playing is as mesmeric as it is iridescent. And although the First Ballade and Second Impromptu are periodically invaded by inaccuracies like swarms of locusts, nothing can detract from Cortot's innate elegance, fire and poetry.
Ward Marston's transfers are, once more, exemplary, beautifully transcending age and crackles to capture performances which make most contemporary piano playing seem as insignificant as chaff in the wind by comparison.
Guest

Source : http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/cortot-plays-short-works

Alfred Cortot
Plays
Short Works

Tracks

Henry Purcell
(1659-1695)

1 Minuet 2:17
2 Siciliana  1:01
3 Gavotte  1:09
4 Air  1:24
(arr. Henderson)

Antonio Vivaldi
(1678-1741)

Chamber concerto
(after Concerto grosso, Op. 3, n° 11, RV 565)
(arr. Cortot)
5 I. Praeludium  2:50
6 II. Sicilienne  2:59
7 III. Finale  4:08

Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750)

8 Arioso (from Concerto n° 5 in F minor BWV 1056)  3:01
(arr. Cortot)

George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)

9 Air & Variations "Harmonious Blacksmith"  3:34

Franz Schubert
(1797-1828)

10 Litanei auf das Fest aller Seelen, D. 343  3:38
(arr. Cortot)

Twelve Ländler, D. 681 (Op. posth. 171)
11 N° 1 in D Major  1:09
12 N° 2 in A Major  0:41
13 N° 3 in D Major  0:30
14 N° 4 in D Major  0:34
15 N° 5 in B Minor  0:46
16 N° 6 in G-Sharp Minor  0:44
17 N° 7 in A-Flat Major  0:51
18 N° 8 in A-Flat Minor  0:58
19 N° 9 in B Major  0:20
20 N° 10 in B Major  0:34
21 N° 11 in A-Flat Major  0:28
22 N° 12 in E Major  0:37
23 N° 8 in A-Flat Minor  0:35
(reprise)

Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)

24 Wiegenlied (Songs for voice & piano, Op. 49, n° 4)  2:31

Isaac Albéniz
(1860-1909)
25 Malagueña  (from España, Op. 165, B. 37, n° 3)  2:54
26 Seguidillas or Castilla (from Cantos de España, Op. 232, B. 44, n° 5)  2:36
27 Sous le palmier in E-Flat Major (Tango flamenco) (from Cantos de España, Op. 232, B. 44, n° 3)  3:37

Camille Saint-Saëns
(1835-1821)

28 Caprice en forme de Valse  4:32

Frédéric Chopin
(1810-1849)

29 Etude in A-Flat Major, Op. 25, n° 1  2:08
30 Waltz n° 7 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 64,  n° 2  3:01
31 Impromptu in F-Sharp Major, Op. 36  4:34
32 Ballade n° 1 in G Minor, Op. 23  8:20
33 Berceuse, Op. 57  4:22
34 My Joys  3:20
(arr. Liszt)

*

Alfred Cortot – piano

Recorded at Camden, USA ; March 21, 1925 [# 10, 29-31] ; USA ; October 27, 1926 [# 9 & 27] ; New York City ; December 28, 1926 [# 32 & 33] ; at Salle Chopin, Paris ; [# 25 & 26] ; at Studio C, Small Queen's Hall, London ; [# 28] ; at N° 3 Studio, Abbey Road, London ; May 18, 1937 [# 5-8] ; May 19, 1937 [# 10-23] ; October 26, 1937 [# 1-4]

5 comments:

hippocampe said...

Links please
Thx

Melanchthon said...

http://www89.zippyshare.com/v/KcCccILY/file.html
http://www89.zippyshare.com/v/5BRyQUSW/file.html
http://www89.zippyshare.com/v/zJYOkFzu/file.html

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Hi,
Fantastic!!
Thank you Mel
Pedro

Anonymous said...

Tomoaki Kimura was overwhelmingly acclaimed as "the Second coming of Alfred Cortot", by his piano teacher - Peter Hoystvanger who had taught world great pianists like Martha Argerich, Murray Perahia and Mr. Kimura became one of his beloved pupils and remarkably improved his piano technique. In addition, he studied with Shura Cherkassky and also with Christopher Elton Merlet at Royal Academy of Music in London.

http://www.samonpromotion.com/global/artist/list/kimura/

Thank you MM.

rubingould said...

Thank you, Mel!