Renata Tebaldi's debut season at London's Covent Garden began in June 1955 with her singing the title role in Puccini's Tosca. An anonymous music lover commissioned a studio with disc-cutting equipment and a suitable VHF receiver that night to record the live transmission onto a set of 33rpm acetate disc sides, and this remarkable new find has proved to be immeasurably superior in sound quality to the previously issued recording, with a full, realistic, clear and vibrant sound almost throughout. Magnificent!
"Tebaldi’s voice is remarkably fresh and secure, with all five high Cs in place and offering no problems; the registers are perfectly knit and the sound grand, beautiful, and womanly ... If you love Tebaldi you’ll adore her here in this gloriously sung and very committed reading ... Tito Gobbi of course is sui generis. From his opening, snarling statement in church, through his lascivious, sneering, “Ebbene” and disgusting “Tosca, finalmente mia” and even beyond, he terrifies."
- Classics Today
Floria Tosca - Renata Tebaldi
Mario Cavaradossi - Ferruccio Tagliavini
Il barone Scarpia - Tito Gobbi
The Covent Garden Opera
Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, conductor
PACO121 (1hr 50:15)
In these new XR remasters we have aimed to delve deeper into those 1930s grooves than ever before in order to illuminate Cortot's finer nuances. The focus here is, first and foremost on the piano. In all three cases we've been not just delighted, but truly astonished by the detail within these recordings - each one can now be heard afresh and anew, and each is truly special.
"Cortot’s capacity to be free and ecstatic yet bracingly unsentimental was one of his most exhilarating qualities, and his rubato at the start of the Saint-Saëns makes modern rivals such as Rogé and Collard pale in comparison. Cortot’s famous or infamous scrambles and skirmishes are never at the expense of the music’s innate elegance and style, and who else has spun off the Concerto’s closing cascades with such glitter and aplomb? Cortot’s playing may not have been note-perfect but there is no doubt that he was every inch the virtuoso."
RAVEL Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor
Alfred Cortot, piano
Orchestras conducted by Charles Munch and John Barbirolli
Recorded 1935 and 1939
“Supreme mastery of the instrument and brilliant technique [and] that rarer quality to be described only as soul … much as I want to hear Cortot, I want to hear Spivakovsky again still more” - Dover Express
“Back in Russia when I was four years old, my mother dragged me through snowdrifts twenty feet deep to hear an outstanding prodigy. YOU were that prodigy.” - Vladimir Horowitz, 1948
“The sensation of London. At the last evening concert in the Albert Hall it is estimated that 3,000 people were unable to gain admission, and there were scenes of wild enthusiasm.” - The Mercury
For the first time, one of the grestest "unrecorded" pianists of the 20th century - a man who taught fingerings to Schnabel, was personally requested as soloist by Richard Strauss, was fêted by the greatest musicians and critics of the age - can be heard demonstrating his mercurial talent and unique technique, the direct inheritance of Liszt and Rubinstein.
BACH-LISZT The Great Organ Fantasy & Fugue
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 21 (Waldstein)
CHOPIN Ballade No. 1 in G Minor
BRAHMS Romanze in F
DEBUSSY Two Preludes
KABALEVSKY Sonata No. 3
Jascha Spivakovsky, piano
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