Say what you will about his dropped or sloppy notes, the guy could play. And he could make a piano sing like few other pianists of his day or since. Today's hot shots, typically more concerned with speed and volume than style, would do well to spend time with Cortot's recordings (not to mention those of Moiseiwitsch, Gieseking and some other amazing musicians of yore).
Here are three examples of Cortot's playing that easily demonstrate -- even through the primitive sound quality -- his distinctive sense of phrasing, color and tempo:
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