Sunday, 9 June 2013

Discography of Jorge Bolet: The Early Years (1952-74)


Discography of Jorge Bolet: The Early Years (1952-74)

This is a sad story. Bolet’s recordings from those years of dreadful obscurity are as terrific as they are scanty (not to mention often recorded in poor sound). Besides, one should keep in mind that many of the CDs listed here (no LPs, sorry) may be no longer in print, and second-hand copies may be appallingly expensive. No lengthy introductory rambling this time; the layout, such as it is, follows the one from the second part of this discography. Let’s get down to business right away.

NB. One last piece of advice. Open the pictures in new window to view them full-size.


Audio Recordings
  
1952-53, Chopin, Prokofiev, etc. (Boston & Remington)
These four LPs have only recently been released on CD for the first time by Appian as Jorge Bolet: His Earliest Recordings. The mono sound leaves a good deal to be desired, but the performances are superb. The repertoire covered contains much that Jorge never re-recorded commercially later (e.g. Chopin’s four scherzi [No. 1], though some live recordings have been preserved; see Marston’s edition below [Nos. 1-4]), in some cases there are not even live recordings available (e.g. the whole Spanish Airs album). The booklet contains excellent essays by Farhan Malik and three rare portraits of Bolet's in his dashing prime reproduced full-page and in excellent quality. Cf. Funerailles for RCA (1972, see below) and for DECCA (1982, see the second part of this discography). 
Front cover
Back cover.


Booklet inside.

The Remington LPs
The Boston LPs

Liner notes by Farhan Malik
Liner notes by Farhan Malik
Liner notes by Farhan Malik
Liner notes by Farhan Malik

Rare portrait


Rare portrait





Rare portrait


1960, Song Without End, soundtrack.
The several solo piano pieces Jorge recorded for this album are supposed to have been good for him, popularity-wise, but they certainly brought neither lucrative recording contracts nor heavy concert schedules. The soundtrack is available on CD and is worth having only for die-hard Bolet fans. The movie itself is a cheesy melodrama trying to capitalize on Liszt’s ever-fresh notoriety as a womanizer. Dirk Bogarde is a preposterous choice for the role of Liszt, not least because of his atrocious miming at the keyboard. Worth seeing as a most hilarious, if unintentionally so, piece of hackwork.


1960-61, Belock Recording Studio, Bayside, Queens, NY (Everest)
Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1, Sonata in B minor, Piano Concerto No. 1 and Hungarian Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (Symphony of the Air, Robert Irving)
The Sonata and the Waltz have recently (2007) been newly remastered (no great improvement over the originals!) and reissued by Alto together with the 1979 recordings of both concerti for VOX (Rochester Philharmonic, Zinman). Cf. the Sonata (1982), the Waltz (1982) and the Fantasy (1984) recorded for DECCA. See the second part of this discography. All Liszt recordings for Everest, including an obscure take on Funeiralles, are available as CD-R on demand on Amazon. There is also a budget price re-issue by Price-Less.
Everest EVC 9015.
Back cover.













Recording details.
CD-R on demand.
CD-R on demand.
Price-Less re-issue.


























1961, Belock Recording Studio, Bayside, Queens, NY (Everest)
A Chopin Piano Recital
Priceless early Chopin recording offered at completely exorbitant prices. Includes some pieces never re-recorded later by Bolet, such as the Polonaises Opp. 40 No. 1 and 53 as well as the Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 66. Miserable TT (41:44). A CD-R on demand is available on Amazon.

Everest EVC 9028.

Back cover.












Recording details.
CD-R on demand.

















1963-85, Jorge Bolet in Concert, vol. 1: Frederic Chopin (Marston)
Priceless selection of live recordings (mostly) from the pre-DECCA years. Tracks listing and liner notes are available online. Many repertoire highlights hardly available otherwise with Jorge, for example a magisterial Third Sonata from 1985, stunning four scherzi from 1973 (cf. the 1953 studio versions for Remington), and an exhilarating Andante Spianato and Polonaise Brillante (1972).
Front cover
Booklet inside



Rare photos


Rare photo

Rare photo































1939-89, Jorge Bolet, Volume 2: Ambassador from the Golden Age: A Connoisseur's Selection for the Bolet Centenial (Marston, 6 CDs)
The title is ponderous, the set is hard-to-find and expensive - but very much worth searching and paying for. Comprehensive selection of live recordings that spans 50 years and consists virtually completely of previously unreleased material. Plenty of new pieces to Bolet's discography by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Grieg, Chasins, Godowsky and others. Tracklisting and liner notes are available online. Ignore the customary panning of Bolet's studio recordings in the liner notes and enjoy the performances.


1968, Casino del l'Aliança del Poblenou, Barcelona
Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio (Victor Martin, violin; Marco Scano, cello) (Ensayo)
Front cover
Back cover

Booklet inside.
























1969, Casino del l'Aliança del Poblenou, Barcelona
Liszt: Paraphrases (Ensayo)
Six of the ten pieces from this album are included as bonus tracks to the 1969 live recording of Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto as issued by Palexa; on the cover they are wrongly dated as “1970” (see below). The Lucia paraphrase is also included in vol. 10 of the Great Pianists of the 20th Century series, together with the 1973 Rachmaninoff LP and the famous 1974 Carnegie Hall recital; on the cover it is inexplicably stated “rec. date unknown” (see below). Only 4/10 of this album were later re-recorded for DECCA (see the second part of this discography).
Front cover
Back cover

Booklet inside























1969, Indiana University (Live)
Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 3 (Indiana University Symphony Orchestra, unknown conductor) (Palexa) + Liszt’s transcriptions and paraphrases (Ensayo, 1969)
Blistering rendition! An absolute must for every Bolet fan. Cf. the vastly different and much more subdued 1982 studio recording for DECCA; see the second part of this discography.
Front cover
Booklet inside













This recording of Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto has also been released (in 1995, I think) on CD by the Indiana University, together with some exceedingly rare live recordings from 1970s. Unfortunately, the CD is virtually unobtainable.

 


1970, Casino del l'Aliança del Poblenou, Barcelona
Liszt: Transcendental Studies (Ensayo)
For more information on Bolet’s both recordings of the Studies, this one and the one for DECCA (1985), see here.
Front cover

Back cover













1972-73, RCA Studio A, New York City, USA
A Liszt Recital
For more information, see here.
Front cover
Tracks listing

Liner notes

Liner notes
CD and booklet



















Rare photo
Rare photo
















1973-74, Carnegie Hall (25/2/1974, Live) and RCA Studios (7/1973), New York
Carnegie Hall Recital + Rachmaninoff transcriptions (PHILIPS, 2 CDs)
The Lucia paraphrase, strangely credited with “rec. date unknown”, is from the 1969 LP with Liszt’s transcriptions and paraphrases recorded for Ensayo (see above). For more information on the PHILIPS volumes dedicated to Jorge Bolet, see here.
Front cover
Back cover

CD and bookle
Tracks listing

Tracks listing

Tracks listing

Liner notes




















Liner notes














Highly abridged version of the Carnegie Hall recital has been released on CD by RCA as well.



1972, Sgambati: Piano Concerto, Op. 15
1973, Prokofieff: Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 
(Nuremberg Symphony, Ainslee Cox) (Genesis)



1958-1974, Complete RCA and CBS recordings (10 CDs)
Contains the so-far-unavailable on CD first recording of the Transcendental Studies (1958, only 9 out 12), the Ensayo solo piano recordings from 1969-70, the 1974 Carnegie Hall Recital, the 1973 album with Rachmaninoff transcriptions, the "Bolet reDiscovered" recital, and chamber rarities from Franck, Wolff and Chausson. Magnificent collection of Bolet in his prime. See Hank's review.



Video Recordings

Commercially Released



Unreleased Rarities





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