Photo by Phillip Nangle
Rather ghoulishly, or perhaps it was just sheer coincidence, RCA released a boxed set of Van Cliburn’s back catalogue earlier this year (Legendary Van Cliburn: The Complete Album Collection, 88765407232), before the pianist’s passing. Having procured a copy I sought to listen to all 28 discs before the ink dried on this current issue. I admit I struggled to get past the first CD. Cliburn’s 1958 recording of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, recorded with RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Kondrashin is justly famed. After playing it on repeat for two days I managed to tear myself away and attend to the rest of the contents. Over the course of the next editions IP writers will critically examine Cliburn’s contribution to pianism.
Overleaf we embark on a celebration of French music and the artistry it inspired: esteemed colleagues discuss the diversity of the repertoire and assess the importance of the French ‘school’ of piano-playing (pp37-41); while Mark Ainley traces the history of Alfred Cortot’s pianism (pp24-27). The issue also includes a rarely performed work by Charles-Marie Widor (p47-53).
Claire Jackson, editor