Author Topic: "Golden Age Pianists":Cortot, Moiseiwitsch,Sofronitsky,Ney,Michelangeli etc  (Read 34616 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
These are the pianists I keep coming back to.

Daniel Barenboim said that Cortot “always seeks the opium in the music.” That seems spot on to me. It’s hard to single out the real high points: everything he did is marvellous I would say – even the late recordings. Maybe the high point of his art is the Chopin Etudes, but really, all his Chopin, Schumann and  Debussy is glorious.

Benno Moiseiewitch is a master of piano tone, a magician of the pedal. Such depth of feeling; such tenderness. High points for me are the Schumann’s Fantasiestuecke Op 12; the Chopin Preludes and Scherzos and Barcarolle; Brahms’ Handel Variations. And Rachmaninov fans love his Rach.

V.V. Sofronitsky is so passionate in Schumann – the Op 11 sonata and Symphonic Etudes especially – that it's almost frightening. Idem for his Schubert and Liszt. And for me his highly distinctive Beethoven is just as good  – in the Pastoral, the Appassionata and in Op 111 he is probably my favourite. And Scriabin fans  love his Scriabin.

These three --  and others including Rosenthal, Friedman and  Rachmaninov and Edwin Fischer and Artur Schnabel  –  are the pianists which other pianists revere. Brendel and Hough are keen collectors of their work.

And here’s a thread to celebrate them.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 06:10:00 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

George

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2010, 01:08:00 PM »
Great thread idea!

I have really been getting into Rosenthal and Cortot's Chopin. I also love Cortot's Schumann, more than anyone's, except Richter.

The more I hear Schnabel, the more I love him. His Beethoven has that great urgency in the outer movements and incredible depth in the slow ones.

Hoffman was very slow for me to appreciate. After hearing the Casimir recital however, I quickly picked up all of Marston's issues of his complete recordings. There's still one to come, too!]

Sauer is another I have recently come to appreciate. I lucked into his 3 disc Marston set for a very good price and really enjoyed it.

Sofronitsky remains a bit of a mystery to me, but I shall keep trying. I have the 2 disc Scriabin Denon CD in my to listen to pile.

Godowsky was a bit of a dissapointment, as I have learned that he played much better for small audiences in his home. Still, some great stuff in those Marston volumes.

Moisewitsch is another one who has somewhat eluded me. I suspect it's his subtle style that has made it a bit of a challenge for me to appreciate his stuff. I plan to get his preludes/ballades CD on Naxos at some point.

Of course Rachmaninoff's complete recordings on RCA are a real treasure. I have been savoring my copy and have made it about halfway through it.

Pachmann, Friedman and Edwin Fischer are some that I need to hear more of. I have collected quite a bit of their stuff, but haven't spent much time with it yet.   
 
I'm sure I am forgetting one or two, but I'll fill in the blanks later.  :)

Bulldog

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2010, 03:24:09 PM »
In addition to those mentioned, I love the artistry of Gieseking and Backhaus.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2010, 12:23:04 AM »
I have really been getting into Rosenthal and Cortot's Chopin. I also love Cortot's Schumann, more than anyone's, except Richter.

I think Rosenthal is  outstanding in the Waltzes .  And the Mazurkas.

I prefer him to Ignaz Friedman in the Mazurkas in fact, even though both play directly and both play them as if they are real dances.

The more I hear Schnabel, the more I love him. His Beethoven has that great urgency in the outer movements and incredible depth in the slow ones.
Yes, but with some reservations. I don't much appreciate what he does with the early sonatas. The very slow tempo of the largo of Op 10/3, for example.
Hoffman was very slow for me to appreciate. After hearing the Casimir recital however, I quickly picked up all of Marston's issues of his complete recordings. There's still one to come, too!]
I have real problems with Hofmann. Take the nocturnes from Casimir Hall. In Opus 9/3 all  I can hear in the more dramatic passages is bluster. All I can hear in the quieter passages is elegant vapidity.

I am not sure there is any depth of feeling  to Hofmann's art -- though I can hear he is often seductive and ravishing and free.

Sofronitsky remains a bit of a mystery to me, but I shall keep trying. I have the 2 disc Scriabin Denon CD in my to listen to pile.

One problem may be that his best (non-Scriabin)  recordings are a little hard to find -- the Symphonic Etudes, the Op 11 Sonata, the Liszt Sonata, the Pastoral sonata, the Appassionata, Op 111, the 1960 D960, the Impromptus, Kreisleriana, the 1949 Chopin concerts. None of them are in the Brilliant box or on Naxos I think.

I do urge you to hear the Beethoven and Schumann if you don't know it.

One I haven't heard is his Schumann Fantasie -- can someone upload it?

What do you think of his Schubert/Liszt?

Godowsky was a bit of a disappointment, as I have learned that he played much better for small audiences in his home. Still, some great stuff in those Marston volumes.
 
His style in the Chopin nocturnes is very simple and direct. I like that a lot -- it reminds me of Gilels a his best (in the Mozart sonatas on Orfeo.)

In fact, in a strange way, he is one of my real favourites.

Moiseweitsch is another one who has somewhat eluded me. I suspect it's his subtle style that has made it a bit of a challenge for me to appreciate his stuff. I plan to get his preludes/ballades CD on Naxos at some point.

Very good Preludes in very good sound. Subtle is not the word. In fact, his preludes seem to me in the same league as Cortot33 and Sofronitsky49.

In the  Fourth Ballade,  there's a  pedal point hold just before, and under, all the five descending chords leading into the frantic-frenzied coda. A unique masterstroke.

I think you are more sympathetic to Rachmaninov's music that I am.

Friedman and Edwin Fischer are some that I need to hear more of. I have collected quite a bit of their stuff, but haven't spent much time with it yet.   
 

Op 55/2 from Friedman is outstanding. He plays the mazurkas as if he's in a dance hall. He's very free and clearly at ease -- but that style is not the only one with this music.

You know, when Schnabel was recording the complete Beethoven sonatas for EMI he got anxious that ill health would prevent him from completing the task. He asked Edwin Fischer to take over from him if anything unforeseen should happen. Not Elly Ney. Not Alfred Cortot. But Edwin Fischer, such was his esteem for the man.

For me, the best of Fischer are his Mozart concertos (especially the ones from Denmark) , the Beethoven sonatas, and the Bach concertos.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 01:57:32 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2010, 12:35:04 AM »
In addition to those mentioned, I love the artistry of Gieseking and Backhaus.

I like Gieseking a lot in Brahms. And in Mendelssohn. And in Schumann.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15524
  • Van Gogh - Flowers in a Blue Vase
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2010, 02:53:22 AM »
I don't much appreciate what he [Schnabel] does with the early sonatas. The very slow tempo of the largo of Op 10/3, for example.

The only problem I have with his Largo e mesto is that it makes the last two movements utterly irrelevant. After such desolation and hopelessness there is really no need for more sound. But in itself it's pure gold. To each his own. :)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and upon which it is impossible to remain silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2010, 07:04:11 AM »
The only problem I have with his Largo e mesto is that it makes the last two movements utterly irrelevant. After such desolation and hopelessness there is really no need for more sound. But in itself it's pure gold. To each his own. :)

I knew that would get a reaction!

The largo is beautiful, it is desolate, and it is taken very slowly.

There is another way with 10/3 which I like more than Schnabel's. A lighter, more witty, funnier way. Gould's way. Gulda's way.



Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15524
  • Van Gogh - Flowers in a Blue Vase
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2010, 07:17:37 AM »
I knew that would get a reaction!

The largo is beautiful, it is desolate, and it is taken very slowly.

There is another way with 10/3 which I like more than Schnabel's. A lighter, more witty, funnier way. Gould's way. Gulda's way.

I can understand that. Gulda is very fine indeed.

Slightly off-topic: If it was possible to go back in time and hear Liszt or Chopin playing, how would we appreciate them? Just imagine, to hear Chopin's Nocturnes played by himself, or Liszt's Sonata (or Paganini's Caprices, for that matter). What would it be? Awe or disappointment? :)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and upon which it is impossible to remain silent." - Victor Hugo

George

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2010, 07:23:21 AM »
I can understand that. Gulda is very fine indeed.

Slightly off-topic: If it was possible to go back in time and hear Liszt or Chopin playing, how would we appreciate them? Just imagine, to hear Chopin's Nocturnes played by himself, or Liszt's Sonata (or Paganini's Caprices, for that matter). What would it be? Awe or disappointment? :)

Either case, I'd love to hear them play.

George

  • Guest

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2010, 09:58:20 AM »
Alfred Cortot : Masterclasses from the Ecole Normale, Sony

It contains quite excerpts from this pianist in works otherwise unavailable -- Beethoven sonatas, a Bach Partita, Chopin mazurkas, Mozart sonatas.

The sound quality is often excellent. That is pretty important since his tone was important to his art. Hearing these well recorded performances has helped me imagine what he may well have sounded like whan he made the recordings from the 20s and 30s.

If you are curious about Cortot, then you won't regret hearing these CDs.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 10:01:37 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

George

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2010, 10:31:18 AM »
I assume the spoken part is in French? Is it clear who's playing the piano at every point? Perahia was the student, right?

Bulldog

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2010, 11:51:50 AM »
Slightly off-topic: If it was possible to go back in time and hear Liszt or Chopin playing, how would we appreciate them? Just imagine, to hear Chopin's Nocturnes played by himself, or Liszt's Sonata (or Paganini's Caprices, for that matter). What would it be? Awe or disappointment? :)

A good dose of reality.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2010, 01:58:03 PM »
I assume the spoken part is in French? Is it clear who's playing the piano at every point? Perahia was the student, right?

This is 100% Cortot.

Cortot explains how to play e.g. Les Adieux by demonstrating at the keyboard and making comments. Students had played for him beforehand, and no doubt they inspired some of the points he makes, but unfortunately we don't have a record of what the students did. 

Perahia wasn't a student AFAIK. He has written an intro and commentry in the book that comes with the 3 CDs.

Cortot's comments are mostly in clear French (though sometimes they are hard to make out) -- I can understand French, but if you can't there's a translation in the booklet.

This is quite a document. Cortot discusses and demonstates Bach Partita 1; Mozart K475, 310, 331; Beethoven Op 81a (Les Adieux); 90, 101,109,110; Schumann Op 22 (sonata)  and the Fantasie; lots of Chopin including 5 mazurkas.

Of course most of these aren't  complete performances. But still , there are some good little chunks.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 02:16:36 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2010, 02:09:24 PM »
I think Cortot's 1939 recording of Weber's second sonata shows him at his very best -- free, imaginative, daring. And it is beautifully remastered here by Ward Marston.


Astonishing, the way this man Cortot made music.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

George

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2010, 03:27:27 PM »
I think Cortot's 1939 recording of Weber's second sonata shows him at his very best -- free, imaginative, daring. And it is beautifully remastered here by Ward Marston.


Astonishing, the way this man Cortot made music.

At your recommendation, I picked up the late Cortot recordings of Kinderszenen, Carnaval and Chopin's 2nd sonata, also from Naxos. Haven't listened to it yet, though. 

George

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2010, 06:56:59 PM »


Listening to the Preludes on this one. Great, poetic performance! The piano tone is gorgeous. I may have found a new favorite!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 07:02:37 PM by George »

Renfield

  • Guest
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2010, 03:03:09 AM »


Listening to the Preludes on this one. Great, poetic performance! The piano tone is gorgeous. I may have found a new favorite!

Yes, that is a beautiful disc. Ditto on the Cortot with the Weber that Mandryka mentions, above.

I cannot help but sigh at the amount of discs I've bought over the last couple of years that are buried within stacks, due to an unforeseen issue with storage space; many of which are are of repertory I haven't otherwise explored too much, like the Weber.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2010, 11:18:17 PM »
http://classik.forumactif.com/discographie-f2/vladimir-sofronitsky-t3899.htm

An extremely valuable website for anyone interested in Sofronitsky
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9839
Re: Golden Age Pianists: Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Sofronitsky etc.
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2010, 05:34:09 AM »
Cortot recorded the Debussy preludes (Book 1) twice –once in the late 40s and once in the 30s.

The later one is widely available – they are  in his Great Pianists for example, and they are on an APR CD.

The earlier one is harder to find.  Mark Obert-Thorn transferred  them on an out of print Cd from Biddulph.

Those earlier preludes are really worth their weight in gold. They're the ones to get, I think. Light, lyrical, hallucinatory playing, like no one else. And in excellent sound on Biddulph.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2010, 05:37:29 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen