Notes and Editorial Reviews
*** This title is a reissue of a Japanese release with liner notes in Japanese. ***
Arkivmusic.com's "on demand" reprint program now embraces Japanese RCA reissues, many of which contain material otherwise unavailable on CD in the United States, such as Peter Serkin's 1979 Diabelli Variations. It matches his father Rudolf's famous 1957 benchmark for scrupulous pianism and attention to musical details. Yet the latter's gaunt energy and fierce cumulative impact contrasts to the younger Serkin's overall intimacy, lightness of touch, and subtle nuances within soft dynamic parameters. In other words, Rudolf plants wild trees; Peter cultivates a big flower garden.
Memorable moments and points of
interest abound. Here are just a few: superbly articulated cross-rhythms in Variations 2 and 19; Variation 9 appearing to build up from out of nowhere; and uncommon melodic focus and linear clarity in the broken octaves in Variations 16 and 17. The poise and serenity Serkin brings to introspective variations like Nos. 25, 30, and 31 lingers long after he stops playing. That said, I hope that Musical Concepts plans to reissue Serkin's more spontaneously phrased, albeit more diffusely engineered late-1980s remake for Pro Arte. Still, the authority and stature of a master pianist/interpreter unquestionably informs this highly recommendable release. Notes in Japanese only.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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