WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op 27 No 1-2, Op 57 / Peter Serkin


Release Date: 06/06/2000 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 63668   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Serkin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

At first hearing you might unfairly label Peter Serkin's soft-spoken yet provocative discourse throughout most of Beethoven's Op. 57 sonata to be the "Dispassionata". For instance, he downplays the outer movements' surface bravura by stressing the linear implications beneath Beethoven's motoric arpeggiated sequences and virtuosic runs. Serkin's slower-than-usual basic tempo for the finale allows him to dive into the fiery coda at nearly twice the speed. The slow movement's barlines virtually disappear by way of the pianist's freshly minted voicings and pliable phrasing. If the music's heroic qualities and dramatic momentum seem a bit compromised as a result, we cannot deny the concentrated intensity and inquiring intelligence Read more behind Serkin's unusual conception.


The two Op. 27 sonatas "quasi una fantasia" generate less controversy. Serkin shapes and clarifies the E-flat sonata's thorny polyphonic thickets by fusing power and finesse, and revels in the opening movements' mercurial fancies. The "Moonlight" sonata's Adagio is hypnotically slow and steady, although the pianist sometimes works too hard distinguishing the famous right hand tune from its underlying triplet accompaniment. Serkin's balances between hands in the Allegretto suggest a sensitive chamber group rather than a piano soloist. He serves up a fiery yet controlled finale that scampers with crisp fingerwork and darting accents that sting rather than explode. RCA's warm, focused engineering does full justice to Serkin's ample tonal resources. Harris Goldsmith provides illuminating annotations that are models of their kind. Leave your received opinions at the door, and check out this absorbing release. [7/18/2000]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Piano no 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 no 1 "Quasi una fantasia" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1996 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 18 Minutes 37 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1996 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 16 Minutes 21 Secs. 
3. Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1995 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 26 Minutes 16 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Andante; Allegro
Allegro molto e vivace
Adagio con espressione
Allegro vivace
Adagio sostenuto
Allegretto
Presto agitato
Allegro assai; Più Allegro
Andante con moto
Allegro ma non troppo; Presto

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook