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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
I once heard John Ogdon in concert and came away most disappointed. But then I did not know of Ogdon's mental problems. These discs, however, were made before his breakdown when he was at the height of his considerable powers. There is some absolutely amazing playing here in the 'grand tradition'. Listen to the cascade of notes and the fury unleashed to be amazed! Some of the repertoire is decidedly off-centre as was Ogdon's wont but it is fantastically played. The performance of the Hammerklavier stands comparison with the best, in its own way. The slow movement is spellbinding. But this is no time for comparisons. Buy to hear an exceptional musician at somewhere near his volatile peak.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Ogdon: The Gentle Giant, 8 April 2014
By 
John Fowler (urbana, illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
John Ogdon: The Gentle Giant.
That's the title of an essay in the booklet (also "Der Sanfte Riese" and "Le doux geant").
A cliche, but accurate as anything you will read about John Ogdon.

In 1962, he was joint winner with Vladimir Ashkenazy of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Piano Competition.
The previous winner was Van Cliburn,
the Glamour Boy of Classical Music.
A serious musician, Cliburn never quite recovered from his instant celebrity.

John Ogdon was the anti-Glamour Boy: Overweight and Awkward.
Teenage girls never swooned at his concerts.
Worse yet, he suffered from an undiagnosed schizophrenia that would destroy his career in ten years.

His career began and ended with EMI: John Ogdon: Legendary British Virtuoso , recordings 1960-1972. *
There was a brief flirtation with RCA, which is documented in the new box from Sony.
Five LP recordings - original jacket format with liner notes, recorded 1967-1969.
Plus a sixth CD: an all-Liszt recital recorded in Tokyo in 1972, a few months before his mental breakdown. Previously unreleased.

Ogdon had the reputation of an intellectual and a virtuoso, qualities that often don't go together.
He specialised in contemporary music, and music of a gargantuan nature: Ronald Stevenson's 80 minute Passacaglia on DSCH, and the Busoni Piano Concerto.
You will have to go to EMI for those.

The repertoire in the Sony/RCA box is a bit tamer:
- Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonata - back in 1967, Late Beethoven was a Big Deal, the province of old masters.
Nowadays every young pianist plays the Hammerklavier Sonata.
Nice performance, but no longer a Big Deal.
I miss Schnabel.
- Rachmaninov: Sonatas 1 and 2 (Cliburn plays the original version of Sonata 2, Ogdon the revised version).
- Alkan: Concerto for Solo Piano (no orchestra)
- Nielsen's piano music is a bit off the beaten path, but basically listener-friendly Late Romantic (once past the opening Chaconne, Nielsen sounds like a mix of Debussy and Schumann).
- Mennin and Yardumian qualified as contemporary music back in 1967. No longer intimidating.
- Liszt: Familiar encore pieces - the only concession to popular taste in this collection.

As mentioned earlier, the Liszt recital was recorded shortly before his mental breakdown.
The performances are certainly exciting: Loud, Fast and (sometimes) Out of Control.
Lots of wrong notes.
This Mazeppa would drive an audience wild if performed as an encore;
We expect tidier playing in the studio.
Perhaps that's why it went unreleased for so long.
A wonderful disc, nevertheless.

* There were several comeback attempts, most of which were not well-received: Rachmaninov Piano Works , recorded 1988.

SOUND: "All CDs newly remastered from the original analog tapes using 24-bit/96kHz technology". Sounds good to me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Some of Ogdon's greatest recordings on CD, 8 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
The legendary performance of Rachmaninov's unjustly neglected first sonata is finally available on CD. Thought by many to be the finest account of this challenging work, Ogdon has sweep and power, poetry and nuance that few pianists can deliver and mould into a monumental performance such as this one. I don't find the sonata over long and Ogdon's magnetic power never falters.

The Alkan I think was released on a Great Pianists disc but it's good to have it included in this set. A monumental work of almost insane technical and challenges is perfect fodder for the Ogdon genius. A few bumps and glitches from Ogdon barely register in the bigger picture. What's very striking beyond the superhuman virtuosity is the lyricism and beauty the pianists finds in this music. IT really does stick in the mind!

As for the concertos I found the Mennin piece to be overly motoric thin on material yet Ogdon plays with total conviction. I've not yet got round to the Yardumian.

Good to have all of Ogdon's Nielson LP here. Some very fine and individual music as you'd expect from the Danish master. Ogdon plays with masterly authority in what amounts to a particularly satisfying recital of music that deserves to be heard more often. The Beethoven Hammerklavier was a favourite of Ogdon's, a work he had played from the beginning of his career. It's a particularly cohesive and persuasive account of this huge sonata. Ogdon was a prolific composer and you this brings special insights to the sonata particularly in the last movement.

The Liszt recital from 1972 is a mixed bag. Some heroic playing but marred occasionally by scrambled and rushed playing. Still we hear some works new to the Ogdon Liszt discography and much of the playing is thrilling and heroic,

At bargain price this box is thoroughly recommended and will be no doubt be snapped up by Ogdon fans!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Ogdon, truly remarkable pianist, 5 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
I did have these cds on vinyl but couldn't resist the offer of this box set excellent value, great pianist
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius John Ogdon, 10 May 2014
By 
A. G. Williams "blue monk" (carmarthen s.w. wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
If you're considering buying this CD, go right ahead as it is absolutely fantastic. Played it the other night for some music-loving friends and they were absolutely 'blown away' The Liszt cd is 'something else' Also the Nielsen CD is also fantastic!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, 8 May 2014
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
A beautiful collection. Worth every penny. Shows John Ogdon's range and exquisite talents. The CD collection is nicely packaged with the original CD covers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting stuff, 6 Aug. 2014
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G. M. Butterworth "Mike Butterworth" (Aylesbury, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
Brilliantly exciting virtuosic playing - perhaps a little too excited at times - but wonderful. A great record of the playing of a genius. Some pieces I had never heard before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Nov. 2014
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An excellent set, offering clear insights into this most mercurial and profound of pianists.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
Excellent customer service.
Product received as described.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection (Audio CD)
Excellent Product
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John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection
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