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The Anniversary Edition Box set, Collector's Edition, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

Price: £60.21 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Nov. 2012)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 40
  • Format: Box set, Collector's Edition, Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B008V1IR4Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,530 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

EMI 7049072; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica da camera

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think I must propound a rule. Do not buy big boxes of CD transfers of 1930s recordings on the assurances of reviewers (including me) who are impressed by the contents until you have heard them. I have broken this rule many times, and sometimes I have got away with it. I'm not absolutely sure I have this time. I haven't heard much of this set, I confess, but I do know many of the 78 rpm originals, even a few of the acoustics. In fact, Cortot's playing was one of the reasons I began to buy 78s in the old Wardour Street Gramophone Exchange, - you could get them for a shilling each. I have heard much better transfers than this of his early discs(the first (1923) Carnaval (which follows the first EMI Schumann Concerto, over which we will draw a veil) is playing just now, complete with the sort of surface noise which has had its treble shaved off by noise-reduction to the point where the acoustic treble of the piano tone has been smoothed away). Fortunately its (electrically recorded)successors on the same disc from 1925, suddenly improve, and a Chopin group brings things into focus. The piano has arrived. Unfortunately it was already there in the acoustics, not least the two dazzling Mendelssohn pieces. But not in these transfers, which with all due respect to Mr Fowler, sound like nothing on earth. If Cortot weren't playing on them, they would qualify, in these transfers, as junk.

In the early days of LP EMI destroyed the metal masters of anything they transferred to LP, (which, given the standard of some of the transfers, should have been made a capital offence. Instead they have been rewarded with an extension of copyright protection (because otherwise Paul McCartney would starve in his old age?)).
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Format: Audio CD
Any serious student of the piano should own this box. I'm not serious, but I'll keep it anyway.

It doesn't claim absolute completeness, but comes pretty close. For 65 quid* (blimey!) you get 40 CDs + an 80 page booklet.

Alfred Cortot had an unbalanced recorded repertoire.
He was a Chopin specialist: Half his solo piano recordings are of music by Chopin.
His only rival was Arthur Rubinstein, but their repertoire was different:
Rubinstein left us with 3 complete sets each of the Mazurkas, Nocturnes, Polonaises and Scherzi.
He avoided the Preludes (aside from once in 1946), and Etudes.
Cortot left us with 4 complete sets of the Preludes, and 2 sets of Etudes (all in this box).
He avoided the Mazurkas, Nocturnes, Polonaises and Scherzi (aside from a few pieces).

Perhaps the division of labor was EMI's idea, but I can't imagine that their marketing department was happy with 4 sets of Preludes from the same artist.

This box also includes 2 sets of Ballades, 2 sets of Waltzes, 1 set of Impromptus, 4 recordings of Sonata 2, and 2 recordings of Sonata 3.
I am frankly overwhelmed trying to comprehend it all.
Anything worth doing is worth doing three times. I can sympathize (I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

CDs 1-28 are arranged in chronological order by recording date. CDs 29-40 are arranged by genre.

CDs 1-3: Acoustic recordings, 1916-1925. Most of these are American Victors.

CDs 4-28: Electrical recordings, 1926-1957.
It begins with the 1926 recording of Chopin's Preludes. It ends with a 1957 recording of the same (previously unpublished).
You also get the 1933 and 1942 recordings. Amazing.
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Format: Audio CD
I am very pleased to have this large collection of master pianist Alfred Cortot's works. Included among the 40 CDs are the well known sets of Chopin Preludes and Etudes, Ballades and more, and also important recordings of works by Schumann, Debussy, Mendelssohn and others. Multiple versions of several of these works reflect the changing developments in sound recording, from as early as 1919 through to 1959, with Abbey Road Studios the primary recording venue from 1932. Sound quality varies, as can be expected, and one reviewer has claimed that the remastering for this 2012 box set edition has its shortcomings when compared to the original vinyl releases, but overall I think the remastering has been competent, especially considering the age of the source material. I would like to make special mention of Cortot's recordings of Schumann's 'Des Abends', and Chopin's Prelude in C sharp minor, op. 45, both from 1947 and included in this box set. These are so exquisitely rendered, so entrancing, and provide ample evidence how Cortot's artistry was truly a one of a kind.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very comprehensive survey of the finest Chopin pianist of his time, in fine transfers. An absolute must for anyone interested in the romantic tradition. It is also wonderful to have all the Cortot-Thibaud-Casals recordings in one place.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A god among pianists - should be compulsory listening for every modern professional.

Cortot shows up our mechanical age, where technical perfection elbows out musicality.
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