This grande dame of the piano world, possessed of an extraordinarily modest, charming personality – focused on the music, devoted to deeply understanding it – has performed three times during the Chopin and His Europe Festival at the invitation of The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. The recordings on this album come from her concerts in 2010 (when she performed the Piano Concerto in F minor op. 21 with the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green) and 2014 (when she performed a recital including, among other items, the Nocturnes presented here). A presentation of – by nature – completely different interpretations, which nonetheless form an extraordinarily coherent artistic whole. Superb creations displaying the most beautiful side of pianistic art.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the pianist’s death, EMI has brought out the largest and most comprehensive Cortot collection ever. The set offers nearly every commercial studio recording released under Cortot’s name on 78 shellac, vinyl LP, 45 rpm single, or compact disc, including unpublished takes already released on CD. To be sure, it is not quite “The Complete Cortot”. For example, the collection omits Cortot’s 1903 sessions accompanying soprano Felia Litvinne, plus a 1925 recording containing the second half only of Chopin’s First Ballade coupled on shellac with the same composer’s Second Impromptu. There is no broadcast material, either. However, we do get Cortot’s unpublished 1957 Chopin Preludes and Ballades, along with a few samples from the pianist’s long-rumored, unfinished Beethoven cycle recorded at the Ecole Normale in 1958/59
When Pogorelich did not make the finals of the 1980 Warsaw Competition (where they play exclusively Chopin), his response was to sign with Deutsche Grammophon for his first recording and he made it an all-Chopin affair. From his stunning opening take on Chopin's Sonata #2, to a Funeral March restored to its grandeur, to the breaktaking final moments of the Scherzo #3, Pogorelich announced to the music world that he'd arrived.
Jascha Heifetz was a Lithuanian-born American violinist. He was born in Vilnius. As a teen, he moved with his family to the United States, where his Carnegie Hall debut was rapturously received. He had a long and successful performing and recording career; after an injury to his right (bowing) arm, he focused on teaching. The New York Times called him "perhaps the greatest violinist of all time."
From the notes: Rosita Renard was born in Santiago, Chile, on February 8, 1894, the daughter of a building contractor; she showed extraordinary gifts as a child, and made her pianistic debut at the age of fourteen playing the Grieg Concerto with the Chilean Symphony Orchestra. A year later the government awarded her a scholarship to study in Berlin at the Stern Conservatory. Arriving there in 1910, Rosita was put in the master class of Martin Krause, a Liszt pupil today remembered as the teacher of Edwin Fischer, who was Renard's classmate and friend, and Claudio Arrau, her countryman, who was seven years Renard's junior. The two families were friendly and when it came time for the nine-year-old Arrau to audition fro Krause in 1912, it was Rosita Renard who actually took the young boy by the hand to the audition" Notes by Edward Blickstein
This selection received a Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Album" and "Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)." The comparative simplicity of Chopin's Op. 28 Preludes (when placed against his Etudes, for example) and their status as "miniatures" often hide the fact that they are, in fact, extremely demanding pieces, especially in interpretation. These works, probably written in homage to Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Well-Tempered Clavier,' have been the eminent domain of such great pianists as Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Claudio Arrau. The Preludes now belong to young Evgeny Kissin.