One more copy of EMI’s Leonid Kogan “Artist Profile” twofer from 1993, CZS 7 67732 2 barcode 077776773223, has come on sale on eBay – it’s not an entirely rare occurence, copies appear regularly. It was part of a short-lived series, whose previous installments (numerically) were a Giulini set, barcode 077776772325 (reissuing, among other things, his Second Symphony of Tchaikovsky and Franck Symphony), used copy on sale on Amazon.com at the time of writing for 16.99 $ + shipment, one devoted to Paul Kletzki (useful for bringing back the conductor’s Mahler Fourth and Sibelius Second), barcode 077776772622 (currently best offer 13.98), and Efrem Kurtz (with Prokofiev and Shostakovich’s First Symphonies), barcode 077776772929 (9.96) – all of which reminds me that I ABSOLUTELY need to complete my discography of EMI’s series Les Introuvables, Les Rarissimes, Pianistes français and Artist Profile.
Kogan? The prices regularly reached on eBay are madness – last one I had noted, February 2018, went for 449 dollars – but today’s offering must have broken a ceiling:
Yes, you’ve read that right: 400 pounds, roughly 570 USD, for two CDs! It’s gotta be something with violinists, if they reach those prices and that kind of craze and conductors don’t.
My public library has a copy, and I even borrowed it and ripped the contents on my computer. I abstained so far from stealing it, but it’s starting to be worth it; but I fear they’ve sold it already (they do that regularly, to make room for new arrivals), without telling me. There’s a French saying, “qu’importe le flacon, pourvu qu’on ait l’ivresse”, “who cares the bottle, as long as we get the inebriation”: I can satisfy myself with the thought that I have the music on my computer, so who cares if I don’t have the actual set; but I bet that collectors of this set think the opposite: to them, the inebriation is provided by owning the object – who cares the music?
But for the music, for those whose public library wouldn’t be as furnished as mine, I’ve found a number of workarounds: all the contents of that twofer are available in other editions, especially from EMI Japan. Here’s how it goes:
Brahms Violin Concerto Philharmonia Orchestra, Kyril Kondrashin 22-27.II.59
EMI Japan TOCE-11361 (1999) 4988006772922 (+ Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto André Vandernoot conducting Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire – OSCC)
EMI Japan Tower Records Excellent Collection QIAG-50093 (2013) 4988006553347 (+ Serenade mélancolique and Lalo hereafter) Note: this is the one I have
Lalo Symphonie espagnole Philharmonia Orchestra, Kyril Kondrashin 22-27.II.59
Seraphim Series (Japan) TOCE-1578 (1994) 4988006703223 (+ Beethoven Violin Concerto Constantin Silvestri OSCC hereafter), see cover photos on Melomania
EMI Japan TOCE-11359 (1999) 4988006772908 (+ Mendelssohn Violin Concerto Constantin Silvestri OSCC)
EMI Japan Tower Records Excellent Collection QIAG-50093 (2013) 4988006553347 (+ Brahms above, Tchaikovsky Serenade mélancolique hereafter)
Tchaikovsky Sérénade mélancolique Philharmonia Orchestra, Kyril Kondrashin 27.II.59
EMI Japan TOCE-11356 (1999) 4988006772847 (+ Violin Concerto, Souvenir d’un lieu cher conducted by Constantin Silvestri, see hereafter)
EMI Japan Tower Records Excellent Collection QIAG-50093 (2013) 4988006553347 (+ Brahms and Lalo above)
Brahms, Lalo and Tchaikovsky Serenade mélancolique also reissued on SACD Tower Records Definition Series TDSA-58/59 (2017) 4997184982764:
Beethoven Violin Concerto Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire (OSCC), Constantin Silvestri 10.XI.59
Seraphim Series (Japan) TOCE-1578 (1994) 4988006703223 (+ Lalo above)
EMI France Collection “Gramophone” 4 89134 2 (1996) 724348913425 (+ Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, OSCC Silvestri 10.XI.59)
EMI Japan TOCE-11362 (1999) 4988006772939 (with Mozart Concerto K216 OSCC Silvestri 26.XI.59)
EMI Japan TOCE-16048 (2012), barcode 4988006894549 see cover photos on Melomania
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto OSCC Silvestri 10.XI.59
EMI France CZS 7 67822 2 “Tchaikovsky Les Concertos” (with Piano Concertos by Geoges Cziffra, Philharmonia, André Vandernoot, by Sylvia Kersenbaum, Orchestra National, Jean Martinon and by Peter Donohoe, Bournemouth SO, Rudolf Barshai, Rococo Variations by Pierre Fournier, Philharmonia, Malcolm Sargent) (1993), barcode 077776782225
EMI France Collection “Gramophone” 4 89152 2 (1996), barcode 724348915221 (+ Piano Concerto by Cziffra Vandernoot)
EMI Japan TOCE-11356 (1999) 4988006772847 (+ Meditation: OSCC Silvestri 17.XI.59, Serenade mélancolique with Kondrashin, see above)
EMI Japan TOCE-16047 (2012), barcode 4988006894532 (+ Meditation OSCC Silvestri) see cover photos on Melomania
Beethoven and Tchaikovsky reissued SACD Tower Records Definition Series TDSA-56/57 (2017) 4997184982757 (+ Mozart K261, Mendelssohn with OSCC Silvestri):
Note also that the full program on Artist Profile was also duplicated on a twofer from EMI Korea, “Legendary Leonid Kogan”, CEC2D-0065 (2002) barcode 8809009309297
Final remark: when compositions overlap (the Violin Concertos of Brahms, Lalo, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky), the performances on the French 4-CD set “Les Introuvables de Leonid Kogan” (2006), barcode 094635192223 (see listing on Discogs.com), are different : Charles Bruck for Brahms and Lalo, André Vandernoot for Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, all with OSCC and earlier recordings, from 1955-57.
PS 30 May 2021: three weeks later, again an offer on eBay (same seller, I wonder if the same copy put back on sale after the previous buyer failed to pay?), and this time it went for 235 pounds (that’s about 335 dollars at the day’s exchange rate):
Still way more expensive than what I’m willing to shell out for 2 CDs, but slightly more reasonable. There are two others that, when they show up (rarely), always go at stratospheric prices: Janos Starker’s last recording of Bach’s Suites on Sefel – a seller from Texas called Gnarly Media is currently selling the CD with Suites 4-6 at a start price of 360 dollars, and it’s not even the complete set! But as long as it’s not sold, the price is only the offer price, not the market price – , and French baroque violinist Patrick Bismuth’s Bach Sonatas and Partitas on Stil (and Bismuth’s Bach violin-harpsichord Sonatas on the same label with Marinette Extermann goes pretty high too).