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#1580726 12/20/10 05:07 PM
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So you may have heard me mention this name, but I'm still listening to recordings of him, and I'm quite impressed with how well and "sincere" he communicates the music (in my opinion). Tchaikovsky Competition 1962 co-winner with Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Some recordings/performances of him I especially like:
-Brahms Piano Concerto 1
-Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto 1
-Busoni Piano Concerto
-Rachmaninoff Piano Sonata No. 1
-Liszt Sonata in B Minor
-Ravel Ondine
-Liszt Liebesträume No. 1

It's also neat how he played lesser-known works like Mephisto Waltz 3 (LOL!), Busoni's take on "La Campanella" (it actually doesn't seem any harder than Liszt's, but I could be wrong), the OTHER Liebestraums by Liszt (which I especially like the first one!) and of course, Busoni's PC which I already listed, Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano, and that 12-movement Opus Clavicembalisticum by K.S. Sorabji.

Apparently, he had no problems giving recitals as crazy as the complete Opus Clav, or all Chopin Etudes/Beethoven Hammerklavier, etc. and could sight read REALLY well.

There are also some recordings I'm quite as keen on, such as the Chopin Polonaises, a couple of the Liszt Transcendental Etudes, and some of the Rachmaninoff Etudes Tableaux, but overall I like him and there are recordings I don't like by other pianists I like.

I'm kind of interested in what he was like as a teacher, for I know he was a teacher at Indiana University for a short while. What do you all think/know about him?

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Aside from the Busoni, a 'must-have' Ogdon recording would most definitely be Liszt's Funérailles. It has to be one of the most mesmerizing, phantasmagoric, frightening, orgasmic, and ultimately cathartic performances of anything I've ever heard. It will make everyone else seem prissy by comparison.

Ronald Stevenson reports that years ago when he was practising the Busoni, a young lad in shorts came up to him in wide-eyed wonder and asked him what he was playing. The lad was John Ogdon.


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he went nuts, didnt'he?


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
he went nuts, didnt'he?


Yes, and it's a very sad story.

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The book is here.


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
Palindrome #1581072 12/21/10 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Palindrome
The book is here.

Thanks, I just ordered the book.


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I think his Sorabji "O.C." and his Bach-Busoni CDs on Altarus are must-haves (Even though he was mentally imbalanced at the time...or perhaps that is why they are so good!) I have a treasured live recording from the late 70s/early 80s where he played the Alkan Concerto for Solo Piano and Liszt's solo version of "Totentanz"--both are shattering in their intensity.

Last edited by Fugue14; 12/22/10 03:14 AM.

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When I first started learning, I found a CD of him playing Moonlight Sonata, Pathetique and Appassionata.
They are easily among the best I have heard. I keep meaning to find some more of his recordings actually.


Repertoire:
Complete:
Beethoven- Op 27/2 'Moonlight' Mvt.1
Beethoven - Op 13 'Pathetique' Mvt.2
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He also recorded some Alkan and Kapustin, though i think i found some interpretations odd, his kapustin was unusually slow.

but he's an interesting figure, especially having composed over 200 works, i'm very interested in his piano sonatas, concertos, kaleidoskopes, nocturnes etc., or sonatas for flute/cello/violin unaccompanied. would be a delight to see these scores! but unfortunately i guess you have to dig them up at the Royal Northern College of Music library.

oh, also there's the biography by his wife brenda lucas, and based on that the bbc documentary 'virtuoso', would be great to look into that as well.

Last edited by Sorcerer88; 12/21/10 05:27 AM.
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Website of the John Ogdon Foundation

http://johnogdon.org.uk/index.php

argerichfan #1581248 12/21/10 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Thanks, I just ordered the book.


When it comes in, tell me if it's worth getting!

Sorcerer, have you heard him play Alkan's Sonate de Concert Op. 47 with cellist Jascha Silberstein? There's a website that lets you preview about 2 minutes or so of it, and I was pleased. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silberstein2
(I just bought the recording of Alban Gerhardt and Steven Osborne playing both Alkan's and Chopin's cello sonata... Both are played well!)

I'm interested in buying it, and I also really want to hear those other pieces. Silberstein sounds very good in the playing I've heard from him.

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Anyone who reads that book will also need a box of tissues, no matter how hard their heart.

Probably the best English pianist ever and a very fine composer as well. The neglect of his Piano Concerto is beyond explanation.

Thal


I'm inclined to agree with Thal
thalbergmad #1581601 12/21/10 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by thalbergmad
Anyone who reads that book will also need a box of tissues, no matter how hard their heart.

Probably the best English pianist ever and a very fine composer as well. The neglect of his Piano Concerto is beyond explanation.

Thal

Indeed. He was surprisingly frail given his size. I remember seeing a brief video of him at the Tchaikovsky competition - a bear of a man with huge paws that could play with both delicacy and power. Somehow it just seems unfair that those who burn the brightest often have the most tragic lives.


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Originally Posted by BB Player
[quote=thalbergmad]I remember seeing a brief video of him at the Tchaikovsky competition


WHERE?

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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by BB Player
I remember seeing a brief video of him at the Tchaikovsky competition


WHERE?
Wish I knew. I saw it years ago, probably about the time he won the Tchaikovsky competition or shortly after. It might even have been a news story about it since there was interest in the Tchaikovsky competition after Cliburn won it. I don't even know what he was playing but I distinctly remember a couple of shots, one of him shot down the full length of the piano and the other of his hands.

Funny how something I saw briefly almost 50 years ago (some time in the 60s, I think) stayed with me.


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By all accounts John Ogdon was a very gentle man and quite unassuming.

He wan't just very good at sight reading - he was phenomenal at it! He once stood in for a pianist in a performance of Brahms 2 with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, conducted by Charles Groves. After the performance, when Groves incredulously asked Ogdon if he had been sight reading it John Ogdon replied "Yes".

I once saw a TV programme on Ogdon where he explained that the music just automatically went from the notes on the score to his fingers!

Many years ago, probably shortly before his death, the BBC made a film about Ogdon's life with Alfed Molino playing JO. (His portrayal was uncanny - there was a part at the end which was filmed in JO's and Brenda Lucas's house with the 'real' JO and it was amazing how Molino had captured the physical appearance and the body language.)

At that time JO lived in the basement flat while BL (his wife) had the rest of the house. The Steinway grand that John Paul Getty had given to JO was in BL's sitting room, while JO had an upright in the basement.

The film showed BL in a not too flattering light. (Whether that was fair or not - I don't know.)


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