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Gramophone, March 2007

A Chopin programme from Alfred Cortot is even more interesting, with a rare and rather dusty-sounding 1928 version of the B flat minor Sonata (the more familiar ones are from 1927 and 1933), the manner of rubato typically elastic but so utterly natural. The chosen version of the Third Sonata is from 1933, superbly recorded and as masterly a performance as we have from Cortot, every phrase aglow, whether singing - ­as in the Largo - or scurrying at speed in the Scherzo. Liszt's transcriptions of three Chopin Chants polonais conjure much poetry, the last and most famous of them ("My Joys") unissued on shellac. A truncated acoustic account of the Op 22 Grand polonaise brillant exhibits Cortot's finger velocity, the celebrated A flat Polonaise his inimitably stylish bravura, with only the Polonaise-fantasie from 1947, illuminating in part, showing him somewhat past his best.

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