Cortot: Chopin Etudes Opp. 10 & 25 (rec. 1942) - LVSM FJLP 5050
Jacket VG / LP VG
This handsome and exceedingly rare LP from La Voix de son Maitre (FJLP 5050, French pressing, cream/brown semi-circle label, mono) features Alfred Cortot's remarkable traversal of Chopin's complete Etudes Op. 10 and Op. 25, recorded at the Studio Albert, Paris on 2 and 4 December 1942. If the date of the liner notes (by Yvonne Tiénot – in French only) is to be taken as an indication, this LP was issued in 1955.
To my knowledge, this remains the only LP issue of these performances. It is Cortot's 1933 HMV traversal that is far more commonly encountered, most often in the HMV COLH and EMI Références series. It certainly must rank among the supreme Cortot rarities.
It seems worth re-printing David Dubal's insightful comments, from his indispensable The Art of the Piano, regarding Cortot and the Chopin Etudes: "Naturally, Cortot put his hand to Chopin's twenty-seven Etudes, although when Rachmaninoff was asked his opinion of Cortot's recorded Etudes, the titanic virtuoso made the devastating comment, 'too musical.' Nevertheless, few pianists are not deeply affected by Cortot's Etudes. I once did a series of radio broadcasts in which I played dozens of performances of Chopin Etudes to a panel of connoisseurs. In almost every Etude, even with a smudge or a technical blur, Cortot's readings were favored. As Philippe Entremont put it, "Even his mistakes were fabulous! Nobody has ever played the Chopin Etudes the way Cortot played them. They are so immense, so gigantic; the nonconformity, the fabulous drive – the poetry of the music was airborne. I am absolutely spellbound by the courage of his playing.' In an interview Alfred Brendel said of Cortot, 'He is the one pianist who equally satisfies my mind, my senses, and my emotions...three-dimensional playing.'"
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is corner wear, as well as some laminate lift along the spine. However, there are no seamsplits, owners' markings, or other defects and the whole remains solid, bright, colorful, and glossy – overall, a good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP is VERY GOOD. Though there is light surface noise throughout, in general the playback remains quite fine. However, those wanting a flawless or near-MINT copy are kindly advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this rates as a very good collector's copy.