This recording is not for everyone. However, if you know who Alfred Cortot was, then read on…
For me, teaching must include demonstration. And demonstration means not just the *words* that help with description of emotion or feeling, but the actual playing that shows the differences in subtleties, shadings, color, accent, and dynamics.
This recording is one of the great treasures of the piano literature. Alfred Cortot plays with great elegance, sublime feelings, and warmth. These master classes, some of which you can view in the videos below, were taped at the Ecole Normale de Musique in 1954. Although some of the playing isnot perfect, Cortot’s distinctive sound and poetry still stands out. These performances will be a pleasure to both the professional and student alike.
One needs to understand the fact that the pieces recorded on this CD are mere fragments with commentary by Cortot in French. One only gets a few seconds, and in some cases minutes, of each piece; and that snippet is interrupted constantly by Cortot as he discusses what he is doing. Anyone, even historical enthusiasts, not interested in Cortot should not purchase this CD, and keep in mind that it is in French with booklet translations.
Here is Alfred Cortot, talking about, and playing the music of Schumann:
And here is Cortot playing the Chopin Ballade No. 1: