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Alfred Cortot: Anniversary Edition [Box Set]

Notes & Reviews:

His exceptional touch and sense of phrasing, his deep and personal comprehension of various repertoires, the legendary trio he formed with Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casla have made Alfred Cortot the absolute mastser pianist of his time. The teacher of numerous pupils, including Dinu Lipatti, Samson Francois and Clara Haskil, he has also deeply influenced the Russian Piano School thru Samuil Feinberg and Heinrich Neuhaus, himself the revered teacher of Sviatoslav Richter.

All the recordings presented in this comprehensive 40-CD set have been very carefully remastered in order to remain as faithful as possible to the original sound of each recording. This remastering work has been supervised by John Guthrie Luke, a former pupil of Alfred Cortot who has attended some of his later recordings.

The notion of "Complete recordings" cannot be applied to an artist such as Cortot, as some takes have never been published or even kept and some of his late recordings were not edited in Cortot' life time. The Piano rolls have not been included. Nevertheless, this set presents for the first time numerous premieres on EMI Classics: Schumann Symphonic studies (CD26), Kreisleriana (CD27) from 1953, Chopin, Preludes and Ballades from 1957 (CD28) and some older recordings such as Albeniz Triana that can be found on CD1.

From his unfinished Beethoven complete sonatas cycle recorded in the late 50's, EMI Classics presents for the very first time several highlights from this "ghost" cycle: the Complete Sonata Les Adieux, Op. 81a, the first movement of the Appassionata, and the 2nd movement of the Sonata, Op. 90. These have been completed by the invaluable Cortot lessons (in French) illustrated by musical excerpts by Cortot himself at the piano.

This set ends with the Radio broadcast of Alfred Cortot's moving tribute to his pupil Dinu Lipatti who died at the tragic age of 33 on Decembe 2nd, 1950.


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