John Ogdon - The Complete Rca Album Collection Box set
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Sony Classical releases a six-disc original-jacket collection encompassing John Ogdon’s complete recordings for the RCA Victor label to mark the 25th anniversary of this legendary British pianist’s untimely death in 1989. Four LPs appear here for the first time on CD, while a 1972 Liszt recital is released for the first time outside of Japan. The six discs are packaged and programmed in facsimile reproductions of the original LP releases in a clamshell box with booklet and remastered from the original tapes.
The repertoire reflects different facets of Ogdon’s large-scale pianism and unusual musical proclivities. From an early age he displayed a passion for Liszt that never abated. His penchant for surmounting the piano repertoire’s most challenging edifices brilliantly manifests itself in Beethoven’s mighty “Hammerklavier” Sonata, Rachmaninoff’s two piano sonatas and the first complete recording of Alkan’s Concerto for Piano Solo. A disc featuring piano music by Carl Nielsen drew attention to this composer’s often undervalued keyboard output, as well as Ogdon’s lifelong curiosity about important works outside the central repertoire. Ogdon’s recording of Peter Mennin’s Piano Concerto and the first of two recordings he made of Richard Yardumian’s Passacaglia, Recitative and Fugue for piano and orchestra also represent the pianist’s fervent advocacy for the music of his time.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
It beggars belief that any mortal could sight read these monumental complex scores,but the gentle giant of the piano world was no ordinary mortal.There is a volcanic force of nature in the way Ogden approaches these scores.
His accounts of the Rachmaninoff sonatas and the Beethoven "Hammerklavier"
are on the summit of Everest,the Liszt on K2,the equal of past and present
ivory tinklers.With a questing spirit he tackles the much rarer Nielsen and Alkan
works with tasteful daemonic zeal.I doubt that these 2 composers have ever
had their music played better.The Alkan Concerto for solo piano is played in full
for the first time,the playing has a brio and sweep that blew me away.
The 2 real rarities are the works with orchestra,ah more my forte, the piano concerto of Peter Mennin and the Passacaglia,Recitative and Fugue of Yardumian.The Mennin is breezy like most of his output,modernly neo-classical,
largely ignored since his death as his music falls between those who want a conservative approach and those who only enjoy chewing barbed wire!
I knew nothing about Yardumian,he seems to have been highly regarded in the 50s and 60s.The work is pleasing ,not terribly distinctive, having the quality of updated baroque,certainly worth an occasional outing.Needless to say it is played with customary brilliance.
I wish I could play like Ogden,not likely,but I get a great substitute, I can sit back and listen amazed.So good is this set I wished that time could have been speeded-up:I so wanted to hear the next CD,then the next.....
As I said piano is not my forte-it is now!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent set, offering clear insights into this most mercurial and profound of pianists.Published 21 months ago by Thales
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.Published 24 months ago by Amazon Customer
With Ogdon's colossal pianism, this is an essential record of an easily forgotten genius. He appears here getting to the heart of repertoire that is rich and rare. Amazing value!Published on 21 July 2014 by Paul Dawson-Bowling