Chopin, Frédéric. (1810–1849) [Cortot, Alfred. (1877–1962)] [Marmontel, Antoine François. (1816–1898)]

1er. Concerto pour le Piano - From the Collections of Antoine Marmontel and Alfred Cortot

Paris: Chez Maurice Schlesinger. [1833]. First Edition. 1er Concerto pour le Piano avec accompagnement d'orchestre, dedié à Monsieur F. Kalkbrenner par Fréd. Chopin. Op. 11. Disbound upright folio. 44 pp. [PN] M. S. 1409. From the collection of Alfred Cortot, with his green stamp to the lower right of the title. Occasional fingerings and other annotations in pencil. Notes on the verso of the last page in pencil, in French, indicate that this copy belonged to pianist Antoine François Marmontel and suggest that the fingerings may be in his hand. Translated from the French: "This copy belonged to Marmontel, judging by the dedications of the pieces bound in the same volume. Perhaps the notes in pencil are from Marmontel..." Toning and foxing; wear to the spine; overall very good. 10 x 13.25 inches (25.5 x 34 cm). Grabowski & Rink 11-1-Sm.  A historic copy, having been owned by two of the most important pianists in history. 

Pianist, teacher and musicologist Antoine François Marmontel became Professor of Keyboard at the Paris Conservatory in 1848, succeeding Pierre Zimmermann, and beating out his former teacher Charles-Valentin Alkan. He achieved renown as a pedagogue; among his many notable students were Georges Bizet, Vincent D'Indy, and Claude Debussy. Marmontel was the author of a large number of pedagogical works, as well as musicological works which are among the best sources for the history of the piano and pianists.

One of the 20th century’s most influential — yet inimitable — classical figures, Alfred Cortot was born in 1877 in Switzerland to a French father and a Swiss mother, and he based his long career as a pianist, conductor and teacher in Paris. Cortot was one of his era’s most renowned interpreters of Chopin, his best recordings setting an enduring standard for poetry in motion. In 1925, the pianist made the first electrical recording of classical music, for the Victor label in New Jersey, featuring music by Chopin and Schumann. Among his hundreds of subsequent recordings was the first complete version of Chopin’s Preludes Op. 28. In holding up Cortot as a paragon of Chopin playing even decades after his death, The New York Times described his method as combining “lucidity with spontaneity.... It is almost modern in its lack of sentimentality and attention to structure; yet it is unmistakably Romantic in its insistence on freedom and variety. Each line is suffused with subtle detail, with interior contours and dynamic shadings. But these are not indulgent ornaments; they reveal rather than cloud the music’s intentions.” 

The Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 was composed in 1830, when Chopin was  twenty years old, and was first performed on 11 October of that year, at the Teatr Narodowy (the National Theatre) in Warsaw, Poland, with the composer as soloist, during one of his “farewell” concerts before leaving Poland.  The first of Chopin's two piano concertos to be published, it was therefore given the designation of Piano Concerto “No. 1” at the time of publication, even though it was actually written immediately after the premiere of what was later published as Piano Concerto No. 2.


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