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on 7 September 2012
This is not Ogdon's complete recorded legacy on HMV - there's a 2-CD set of Scriabin, for a start, which isn't included, and at least a couple of rarities from the 'Pianistic Philosophies' LP box are missing, - but it's a substantial collection. The 17CDs are very well filled.

If you're already an Ogdon fan, all you'll really want to know here is that the transfers to CD have been very well done: sound is good throughout. If you're not familiar with this extraordinary pianist's recordings, this is a very good place to start, as it presents a very wide range of repertoire in superb performances. Excellent value and highly recommended.
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on 6 May 2017
I'd discovered John Ogdon accidentally through his titanic recording of Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum, which led me to read the excellent biography of this prodigiously talented pianist whose career was blighted by illness (Piano Man, by Tom Service). So I snapped up this box set and have not regretted the purchase. I am still working through all of the material, however, some of the Liszt playing is exceptionally, as is his ability to inhabit a vast repertoire and introduce me to material I wouldn't have tried if it hadn't been included in this set such as Ronald Stevenson's Passacaglia. And there are still more treasures to discover...
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on 5 September 2012
CD1 LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA / ALDO CECCATO - Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor op.25. Piano Concerto No.2 in D minor op.40 (Mendelssohn). NEW PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / PAAVO BERGLUND - Piano Concerto in A minor op.54 (Schumann).
CD2 LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA / ALDO CECCATO - Rondo brilliant in E flat op.29 (Mendelssohn). NEW PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / PAAVO BERGLUND - Piano Concerto in A minor op.16 (Grieg). BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA / PAAVO BERGLUND - Piano Concerto No.1 in F minor op.92 (Glazunov). Ten Variations on Chopin's Prelude in C minor op.22 (Ferruccio Busoni).
CD3 PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / SIR JOHN BARBIROLLI - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor op.23 (Tchaikovsky). Symphonic Variations (Cesar Franck). PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / JOHN PRITCHARD - Fantasia on Hungarian Folktunes S123 (Liszt arr. Ferruccio Busoni). Rhapsodie espagnole S254 (Liszt).
CD4 MEN'S VOICES OF THE JOHN ALLDIS CHOIR / ROYAL PHILHARMONIC / DANIEL REVENAUGH - Concerto for piano orchestra and male chorus op.39 (Busoni). Turandots Frauengemach - Intermezzo No.4 of Elegies (Busoni). Sonatina No.6 - Chamber fantasy on Bizet's Carmen (Busoni).
CD5 PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / JOHN PRITCHARD - Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor op.18. Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini op.43 (Rachmaninov). CITY OF BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA / LOUIS FREMAUX - Ballade in F sharp op.19 (Faure). Scherzo - Concerto symphonique No.4 in D minor op.102 (Henry Litolff).
CD6 Etudes op.10 : No.3 in E / No.12 in C minor Revolutionary. Nocturnes op.9 : No.2 in E flat / op.15 No.2 in F sharp. Ballade No.1 in G minor op.23. Preludes op.28 : No.7 in A: Andantino / No.15 in D flat Raindrop: Sostenuto. Mazurkas op.7 No.1 in B flat / op.33 No.2 in D. Scherzo No.3 in C# minor op.39. Polonaises op.40 No.1 in A Military / op.53 in A flat Heroique. Waltzes op.64 : No.1 in D flat Minute / No.2 in C# minor. Fantaisie-impromptu in C# minor op.66 (Chopin). Un sospiro - Trois etudes de concert S144 (Liszt). Liebestraume : No.1 in A flat / No.3 in A flat.
CD7 Piano Sonata in B minor S178. Zwei Concerto studien S145 : No.1 Waldesrauschen / No.2 Gnomenreigen. Trauervorspeil und Trauermarsch S206. En reve nocturne Andantino S207. Reminiscenses de Don Juan S418. Reminiscences de Simone Boccanegra S438 (Liszt). CD8 Apres une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata - Annees de pelerinage 2e annee: Italie S161. Mephisto Waltz No.1 Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke S514. Mephisto Waltz No.3. Csardas macabre S224. Polonaise No.2 in E S223. Hungarian Rhapsody No.15 in A minor Rakoczi March S244. Etude d'execution transcendente d'apres Paganini S140 : No.2 in E flat - Octaves / No.3 in G# minor - La campanella (arr. Busoni). Funerailles - Harmonies poetiques et religieuses S173. Valse oubliee No.1 S215.
CD9 Etudes tableaux op.33. Etudes tableaux op.39. Prelude in C# minor op.3 No.2.
CD10 PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / MALCOLM SARGENT - Piano Concerto No.1 Sz83. Piano Concerto No.3 in E Sz119 (Bartok). BRENDA LUCAS / JAMES HOLLAND / TRISTAN FRY - Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion Sz110 (Bartok).
CD11 Piano Sonata in E flat minor (Paul Dukas). Deux Mirages : No.1 Et Pan au fond des bles lunaires s'accouda / No.2 La tragique Chevauchee (Florent Schmitt). Piano Sonata (Henri Dutilleux).
CD12 PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA / COLIN DAVIS - Piano Concerto. Piano Sonata No.1. Piano Sonata No.2 (Michael Tippett). Ballade (Alan Rawsthorne)
CD13 ROYAL PHILHARMONIC / LAWRENCE FOSTER - Piano Concerto No.2 in F op.102 (Dmitri Shostakovich). ROYAL PHILHARMONIC / LAWRENCE FOSTER - Piano Concerto No.1 (John Ogdon). Piano Sonata (John Ogdon). Theme and Variations (John Ogdon).
CD14 Suite (Richard Hall). Sonata in one movement op.2 (Alexander Goehr). Three Pieces op.18 (Alexander Goehr). Precis (Sir Harrison Birtwistle). Five Pieces op.2 (Sir Peter Maxwell Davies). Variations for Piano (David Blake). Toccata (Christopher Headington). CD15 Sonata No.2 op.27 (Alun Hoddinott). Piano Sonata No.2 (Robert Sherlaw Johnson). Passacaglia on DSCH - Opening (Ronald Stevenson).
CD16 Passacaglia on DSCH : Conclusion (Ronald Stevenson). Canteyodjaya (Olivier Messiaen). Prelude & Fugue in D BWV850 - The Well-Tempered Clavier No.5 (Johann Sebastian Bach arr. Hess). Fantasia in D minor K397 (Mozart).
CD17 Andante favori in F WoO57 (Beethoven). Nachtstuck in F op.23 No.4 (Schumann). Suite bergamasque No.3 : Clair de lune (Debussy). Prelude Book 1 : No.11 La danse de Puck / No.8 La fille aux cheveux de lin (Debussy). Chorale Prelude: Jesus bleibet meine Freude - Jesu joy of man's desiring from Cantata No.147 (Johann Sebastian Bach arr. Hess). Bagatelle in A minor WoO60 Fur Elise (Beethoven). Valse in E op.34 No.1 (Moritz Moszkowski). Etudes de concert op.35 : No.2 Automne (Cecile Chaminade). Histoires : No.2 Le petit ane blanc (Jacques Ibert). Mouvements Perpetuels : No.1 Assez modere (Francis Poulenc). Tango in D op.165 No.2 (Isaac Albeniz). Goyescas : No.4 Quejas o la maja y el ruisenor (Enrique Granados). Lyric Pieces Book 8 op.65 : Bryllupsdag pa Troldhaugen - Wedding Day at Troldhuagen (Edvard Grieg). Concert Study Rustle of Spring op.32 No.3 (Christian Sinding). The Holy Boy. April (John Ireland). Lotus Land op.47 No.1 . Danse negre op.58 No.5 (Cyril Scott).
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on 19 July 2015
WHEN YOUNGER I WAS NOT OVERWHELMED BY THIS GENTLE GIANT BUT FORTUNATELY I HAVE GROWN OLDER AND THIS SET HAS, FOR ME, PUT JOHN OGDEN WHERE HE BELONGS. WONDERFUL PLAYING. A JOY TO LISTEN TO WAR HORSES RENEWED BY HIS PLAYING. HOW LUCKY TO REDISCOVER SUCH MUSIC MAKING AND I AM ONLY HALF WAY THROUGH THE SET!
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on 3 January 2013
The real gem here, and alone worth buying this box for, is the Stevenson Passacaglia, which EMI have FINALLY put on CD ( thirty years overdue, in my opinion ) Ogdon's performance of it far surpasses Raymnond Clarke's or Murray McLachlan's. Shame it's split over two discs. But I think it is a pity that Emi didn't make this a COMPLETE Ogdon...the George Lloyd sonata and a few others are missing from the "Pianistic Philosophies" set, as well as the Scriabin. I mean if you like Ogdon enough to buy 17 discs of his playing, surely you'd fork out for say 25 discs. Note to Decca - please gives us something similar for Ogdon's co-Tchaikovsky-winner, Ashkenazy, in 2013, his fiftieth anniversary with Decca...a box set of all Vladimir's piano recordings from 1963 to say 1975 would be an absolute gem.
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on 8 January 2013
Its great to see a large collection of Ogdon recordings in one place. After the 40th anniversary set (which was a mixed affair)this one tries harder but still lacks that last bit of effort from the compiler.
The inclusion of Ogdon's own works on the 40th set and now this one was a worthy conclusion and replace old poor quality tape recordings from dubious sources. There are many recordings at last seeing life on cd for the first time, but sadly a great many more missing from the EMI archives. What about the Yardumian recordings from 1972/76? the Lutoslawski 'variations on a theme by Paganini'? Williamson 'Sonata for 2 pianos'? Schoenberg 'Chamber Symphony no 2' Mozart 'Sonata for 2 Pianos' Britten's 'Mazurka elegiaca'& 'Introduction and Rondo alla Burlesca' Brahms 'variations and theme on haydn' - the list goes on. It's somewhat annoying to have all those old work horses trundled out yet again such as the grieg/Schumann/Rachmaninov/Tchaikovsky (which any self respecting Ogdon officianado bought years ago)when the rare repertoire is still hidden in dusty archives. In this day of digital downloads is there a reason to keep sitting on stuff till doomsday? Thank goodness over the years that labels like Testament have managed to prize some of these recordings from obscurity.
Not only are there EMI recordings buried, but also some great RCA stuff (Nielson etc)

At least the Scriabin recordings are still available and the less important Beethoven variations. It's just a shame they didn't include everything in the box that they could possibly muster.

Ogdon was a master pianist. The playing on this set gets a 5 star - the compilation only 4.
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on 18 January 2016
Recording over 80 composers and hundreds of pieces over a relatively short period of time,John Ogden was no ordinary piano tinkler.There should be no doubt that he was one of the world's greatest ever pianists.There does not appear to be much in the piano literature that he wouldn't tackle,he had a refreshing interest away from the conservative and we'll trodden German
repertoire.
In this set of 17 cd's we only encounter 42 composers,ranging from JS Bach
to Birtwistle,catholically encompassing 19th Century Romanticism,Central European Nationalism and the music of his 1960's contemporaries.recorded over a period of 16 years,from 1960 to 1976,most from the period before his breakdown in 1973.
It would be no exaggeration to say that with his tremendous technique and voracious appetite for notes,he mastered all the musical challenges and genres thrown at him.If he had been a great explorer he would have conquered Everest,
gone to the moon,and sailed the seven seas,so enquiring and adventurous was his mind.Suffice to say,all the performances are excellent,most equal to any performance you'd care to mention.
I have to admit to having been allergic in the past to Tchaikovsky 's first,Rachmaninoff's second and Grieg's piano concertos.Ogden's no nonsense approach to these works are free from the rhetoric which has always worried me about these works,allowing me to come to terms with them and enjoy them for the first time.
The two Mendelssohn and Schumman concertos are beautifully presented,again
not lingering on their romantic tendencies.Although he had no Haydn and very little Mozart in his repertoire,his crisp,crystalline approach to the romantics leads me to believe he would have been a natural in the classical repertoire.
He holds his head high in the Chopin,Rachmaninoff and Liszt solo works,tender,
volcanic and hair raising in equal measure.
Many of the works played here were new to me,Mendelssohn's Ronda Brilliant,Busoni's Chopin Variations and Fugue,Turandots Frauengemach and Sonatina No.6,Dukas's Sonata and Schmitt's Deux Mirages-all played with splendid aplomb.Lovely performances of Faure's Ballade,Litolff's Scherzo,The Paganini Rhapsody of Rachmaninoff,Franck 's Variations Symphonies ( a piece he learnt overnight so that there could be filler for the Tchaikovsky concerto-
naturally his modesty forbade him from mentioning this to his conductor,Sir John Barbirolli), and the rarely performed Concerto No.1 of Alexander Glazunov. This a typically tuneful and beautifully orchestrated piece from this composer,
however it's form is unusual as the 2nd movement consists of a theme and 9
Variations.Very enjoyable,more piquant from a composer who sometimes over eggs the pudding.
And there is the first of the 2 real bonkers pieces- Busoni's gargantuan Concerto.
If Berlioz had composed one it would be this.It shouldn't work ,but does- a lot of the time over the 70 minute span the piano plays an obligatto role,a texture in the overall scheme,at other times the piano plays the more traditional role of being the adversary to the orchestra, the last movement also includes a choir.I believe that the piece has been recorded 5 times,it is rarely performed in concert( no surprise really - any self respecting concert promoter would have a panic attack at presenting such a rare,expensive work to the public -what would you plan it with?).I had to play the piece 3 times in succession to even start to get to grips with it!
There are few examples of mid 20th Century music here,one of the few disappointments of this collection.I would have liked to hear Ogden play Prokofiev, Stravinsky,Szymanowski and Strauss amongst others. What we do have though are the first and third concertos,the Sonata for Two pianos and Percussion of Bartók and the second Concerto of Shostakovich. I was suprised to see that Sargent was the conductor in the Bartók concertos.The first is played at a fair lick,the first movement much more lyrical than usual,bringing out the peasant folk music that Bartók collected.At times I was reminded of Petrushka,
a piece Stravinsky had originally intended to be a concertante work.Bartók used a theme from The Firebird in the last movement of the 2nd Concerto.The 2nd movement usually is depicted as night music,quiet,slow and mysterious- not here,Ogden's night wood is full of nocturnal animals scurrying about.The last movement is a tour de force without too much of the brutality of most other interpretations.The 3rd Concerto,always the most gentle of the 3,is given a relaxed performance,a peasant wedding dance with lots of good humour and
laughter.Ogden's wife,Brenda Lucas,joins him in the Sonata in a genial performance in a work which can sound severe and austere.Again the dances of
Bartók's Hungary are on show,also the relation to Contrasts written for Benny Goodman are brought out.Shostakovich's Concerto was written for his son Maxim in the late 50's and is considered to be a less substantial example than the first.A lot of it is light and sparkly,the second movement has a rather attractive tune.This is not the Shostakovitch that withdrew the 4th Symphony in the 1930's but rather the film score The Gadfly with piano accompaniment. It's all very jolly,I think even Stalin would have had no objections!!!
And now to the music that I most wanted to here in this set,that from his British contemporaries while he was at Manchester and colleagues and friends in the 60's.I had only owned the Tippett works,the Concerto and the first two sonatas.Tippett can be wild,needing taming to pull in his tendencies for middle age spread.In the Concerto I don't think that the performance totally succeeds in doing this,rather than being totally coherent it is a succession of Lovely dreamy
moments punctuated with outbursts.The sonatas are more successful in conveying Tippett's adventurous and visionary spirit.There are works by Rawsthorne and Hoddinott,two composers not normally associated with solo piano music,both bracing and tonal.Rawsthorne always reminds me of the
useful music of Hindemith,not a note too many,rather faceless,enjoyable listening but ultimately unmemorable.
The works that,for me,sum up the ethos of Ogden are those by his contemporaries at Manchester. There is an insatiable thirst for the new,the complex,the thrill of the chase.That questing spirit was served by having so many talented people surround him at music college and that the fruits of his
collaborations he managed to persuade EMI to record.I found all the music fascinating, difficult and challenging,none of it repelling,worth many listening to try and understand the complexities.It is testament to Ogden's great facility in
quickly learning new music that we are able to have these recordings despite his remarkable,draining schedule. I will only pick out one work from this oeuvre, that being the Passacaglia on DSCH by Stevenson. This is the other bonkers work!Based on the 4 notes that spell Shostakovich' s name it is a continuous piece lasting over 80 minutes. God only knows what stamina and concentration it requires from the performer,but I was mentally exhausted at the end!There are
countless peaks and troughs,tremendous variety and at stage lost,so clever is the composer in controlling his material.
The set ends with a series of piano Lollypops,send us all home happy.I suspect that these were the pay off for EMI to offset the loses they must have incurred
from the more unusual material.All Lovely ,all relaxing,all something to wallow in after the titans that came before.
Apparently this set is just the tip of a recording iceberg,let's hope much more of this legacy is released soon.
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on 1 April 2015
An excellent set of piano pieces played by Ogden at the top of his game. Outstanding value for money
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on 16 October 2015
What an exceptional talent,he plays a wide array of different music by various composers and excels at everything he plays.
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on 18 November 2014
Great. Currently a fan of Demidenko
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