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Price: $285.00

MINT CONDITION

ALFRED CORTOT - PIANIST

Two page autographed letter on the pianist’s personal stationary to his friend Jean van der Spek, Lausanne, September 16, 1951.  Offered with an original sepia postcard of Cortot in his moustache period, c. 1910.

 

16 Sept. 51

 

Dear friend,

 

Thank you for your friendly note I found here upon my arrival from the Besançon Festival.

 

I am planning a small trip to Belgium in November with my car, and therefore will not need to be driven by you.   But I would be happy to meet you in different cities I will be visiting, this goes without saying!

 

Indeed I will have to research Chopin’s Etùdes and Préludes in Anvers, but my other interests will be more “Tutti frutti”!........... He closes on the second page with pleasantries and regards to van der Spek’s wife and his offer of the use of an instrument.

 

Cortot retired to Lausanne in 1950.  He was asked to come to the Besançon Festival in 1951 to sit on the judging panel of the first Concours de Chef d’Orchestre at the then young Festival. (started 1948) Georges Enesco was another judge and the first winner was the German, Reinhard Peters.  The contest has become one of the most prestigious conducting competitions in the World.  Cortot recorded portions of the Op. 10 & 25 Etùdes between 1951 and 1954.  He recorded one of the op. 28 Préludes in 1952 and then in Japan recorded the entire cycle in 1955.  Cortot also released his own edited versions of the works in 1915, 1916 and 1926 respectively, decades before the letter.  None of the manuscripts reside today in Anvers,  (Antwerp), so potentially, post War they landed there.  The other thought is there might have been annotated scores in Chopin’s hand Cortot would have wanted to see.

 

The legendary Swiss pianist had a long friendship with Jean van der Spek, the Belgian concert promoter.  They both were collectors of musical manuscripts and Chopin was a specialty.  Cortot’s collection began in earnest after the Second World War, when many manuscripts of the major Romantic composers reached the market.