John Ogdon · The Ludwigsburg Recital in 1967


John Ogdon might not have attained the level of recognition that matches his remarkable talent. Nevertheless, this live recording of his Ludwigsburg recital in 1967 provides an opportunity for listeners to observe the pianist during his peak years, displaying his extraordinary skills, astounding technique, and captivating interpretations. Sadly, his career was prematurely halted due to health issues, thereby limiting the potential of what could have been an illustrious trajectory.

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JOHN OGDON The Ludwigsburg Recital in 1967

BACH: Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue in D Minor, BWV 903
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No 29 in B Flat Major, Op 106
CHOPIN: 12 Études, Op 25

Recorded · 8 July 1967 · Ludwigsburg · Schloss Ordenssaal · SDR · Live Recording

Article number: MC 1056
UPC barcode: 791154050682
Release date: 14 September 2020
Booklet: 8 Pages
Total timing: 79:45
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2020 Meloclassic

October 2021 ∙ French Diapason ∙ Laurent Muraro ∙ John Ogdon ∙ The Ludwigsburg Recital in 1967
On reste en revanche sous le choc d’un récital donné par John Ogdon (1937-1989) à Ludwigsburg en 1967. Le si fragile colosse ne semble faire qu’une bouchée de la « Hammerklavier », avant de déployer toute la palette de son jeu dans les Etudes op. 25 de Chopin.
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March 2021 ∙ British Gramophone ∙ Rob Cowan ∙ John Ogdon ∙ The Ludwigsburg Recital in 1967
The prime of John Ogdon: Nimble, exact, with immaculate trills and fearless runs at speed, John Ogdon’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue makes daring music of Bach’s harmonically far-reaching masterpiece. As for Beethoven’s equally audacious if somewhat more spacious Hammerklavier Sonata, Ogdon’s performance eschews extremes (such as a reckless, metronome-dictated opening movement and/or a funereal Adagio) and opts instead for a more natural narrative, the Adagio flowing somewhere between a prayer and a love song, the finale taut in its fugal arguments. Ogdon’s RCA recording might project a richer sound-frame but this 1967 Ludwigsburg live recording benefits from a lighter touch. The best is yet to come, however: a complete recording of Chopin’s 12 Études, Op 25. This is Ogdon at his formidable best; and if there’s any more available from the same source, let’s be having it. Good sound, though the evidence of the last study’s shallow sounding final chord suggests that the piano had taken quite a pounding.
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January 2021 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ John Ogdon ∙ The Ludwigsburg Recital in 1967
Recordings of the Year 2021: This live Ludwigsburg recital from 1967 predates these vicissitudes and gives the listener the opportunity to experience this genius of the piano at the height of his powers. Ogdon performs Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903 with dash and brilliance. The flourishes which open the Fantasia are dazzling and pearl-like. The character is bold and courageous. The lengthy passages of recitative are improvisatory, creating the sense of music being created on the wing. Definition is the name of the game in the Fugue, and everything unfolds with pristine clarity Beethoven’s Hammerklavier must have occupied Ogdon throughout 1967, as this was the year he took it into the studios of RCA. Comparing this live airing with the commercial one, I didn’t find any interpretive divergence, but this performance from Ludwigsburg, being live, has that extra ounce of frisson. Ogdon delivers an epic performance marked by effortless virtuosity, and drama. The opening movement is aristocratic and noble, with no loss of momentum throughout. The Scherzo has an impish streak, and the slow movement is comfortably paced and marked by a reverential and probing introspection. There’s a marvelous transition into the last movement, which is handled superbly, and the final fugue certainly packs a punch. The recital ends with Chopin’s 12 Études, Op. 25. No. 1 ‘Aeolian Harp’ has a seamless flow, and his sensitive pedaling is able to highlight the harmonic shifts that occur as the music progresses. There’s a perfect balance between the left-hand melody and the arpeggio accompaniment in No. 5 in E minor. Pure articulation and evenness are a feature of the thirds in No. 6, and No. 7 is imbued with poetry and lyrical beauty. The ‘Winter Wind’ (No. 11) is evocative and filled with gripping drama. The sound quality here is excellent, allowing us to fully savour Ogdon’s wonderful playing. This is a highly desirable release and gets my wholehearted recommendation.
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