In Lausanne, Switzerland, Alfred Cortot died ot the age of 85. He was a pupil of Ravel and performing partner of such greats as Casals and Thiband.
Mr. Cortot's conducting and performing mainly encompassed the works of three eras—the classical of Beethoven, the romantic exemplified by his direction of Wagnerian opera at the behest of Richard Wagner's widow, and the modern.
Swiss born of French parents, Mr. Cortot was director of the Ecole Normale de Musique of Paris. He wrote several books on composers such as Chopin, Schumann and Liszt, and was himself considered a great stylist.
Since 1896, he had given some six thousand concerts all over the world, either as conductor or as piano soloist. He made many lecture tours, wrote innumerable articles in the world's musical journals and magazines and researched the work of many famous composers.
He was a student of the Paris Conservatory where he later received an honoary professorship. He was also named director of the Chorus of Bayreuth in Germany. There Mrs. Wagner entrusted to the young man the direction of Wagner's Goetter-daemmerung and Tristan and Isolde in 1902.
Mr. Cortot had difficulties with the French government after the World War II liberation. During the war, he was a member of the so-called National Council, a sort of cultural organization in the Vichy regime, and president of the Committee of the Professional Organization of Music.
He was barred from appearance in public in France. It was then that he established residence in Lausanne. But despite his political troubles, he was a commander in the Legion of Honor.
After the war, Mr. Cortot admitted having played for the Nazis but he said he did so only because it permitted him to play in Allied prison camps. His postwar ban in France was for two years, but when he tried to make a comeback in 1947 in Paris, the orchestra refused to accompany him.
Troubles and triumphs were his. In the memory of many who heard him play, he still lives—as music lives amid discords.
In the great beyond, if Cortot had faith in Jesus, there is coronation for Cortot from Christ.