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Rudolf Serkin Plays Beethoven


Release Date: 11/06/2012 
Label:  Sony (Nax615)   Catalog #: 988302  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf SerkinLeslie ParnasJaime LaredoDavid Evitts,   ... 
Conductor:  Eugene OrmandyLeonard BernsteinAlexander SchneiderPeter Serkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia OrchestraNew York PhilharmonicWestminster Choir,   ... 
Number of Discs: 11 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here we have all of the solo and concerted stereo Beethoven repertoire featuring Rudolf Serkin released by Sony Classical, gathered together in an 11-disc budget boxed set. It does not include mono Beethoven items that Serkin remade in stereo. However, Serkin’s great mono-only Diabelli Variations is present, along with alternative live Marlboro Festival recordings of the Fourth concerto and the Choral Fantasy, plus two stereo versions of the Op. 110 sonata (one from 1971, the other a posthumously released 1960 recording).

The gaunt intensity, nervous energy, tensile strength, and textual rectitude that Serkin brought to Beethoven influenced several generations of pianists, particularly in America. You especially perceive
Read more these qualities throughout the aforementioned Diabellis, the Third and Fifth concertos’ outer movements, the early sonatas’ finales, the “Pathétique” first movement (Serkin was the first major pianist on disc to extend the exposition repeat back to the start of the long introduction), Op. 111’s combative Allegro, and the “Hammerklavier” outer movements. Serkin’s “Moonlight” and “Appassionata” have not lost their staying power as reference recordings, yet the pianist proves even more persuasive in the Op. 119 Bagatelles and in a lean, lofty, and elegant reading of the B-flat Op. 22 sonata. To be sure, some of Serkin’s later performances prove sterner and less supple when heard alongside their earlier counterparts.

The sound samples below enable you to compare his handling of the counterpoint in Op. 110’s Scherzo in 1960 and 1971, and to measure his fiery 1962 opening Choral Fantasy cadenza alongside the still powerful yet relatively labored live 1981 traversal. Then again, the older Serkin still could rise to the occasion, as borne out in the surprisingly impetuous Op. 77 Fantasia, and the 1975 “Waldstein” sonata’s blazing coda. Similarly, the 1974 Fourth concerto’s live ambience offers a more realistic replication of Serkin’s nuanced trills and double notes than the stereo studio version’s harsher, less sustained tonal characteristics. In sum, collectors with a broad interest in Serkin’s Beethoven will find this modestly priced release attractive. Full discographical information is provided on the individual disc sleeves in lieu of booklet notes.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Fantasia in C minor, Op. 80 "Choral Fantasy" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Choir,  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
7.
Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello in C major, Op. 56 "Triple Concerto" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leslie Parnas (Cello), Rudolf Serkin (Piano), Jaime Laredo (Violin)
Conductor:  Alexander Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 2 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1795; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 6 in F major, Op. 10 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Sonata for Piano no 11 in B flat major, Op. 22 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Sonata for Piano no 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 "Funeral March" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Sonata for Piano no 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 no 1 "Quasi una fantasia" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Sonata for Piano no 16 in G major, Op. 31 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
18.
Sonata for Piano no 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Sonata for Piano no 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809-1810; Vienna, Austria 
20.
Sonata for Piano no 28 in A major, Op. 101 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
21.
Sonata for Piano no 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1817-1818; Vienna, Austria 
22.
Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
23.
Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
24.
Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
25.
Variations (33) for Piano on a Waltz by Diabelli in C major, Op. 120 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1819-1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1957 
26.
Bagatelles (11) for Piano, Op. 119 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820-1822; Vienna, Austria 
27.
Fantasia for Piano in G minor, Op. 77 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
28.
Fantasia in C minor, Op. 80 "Choral Fantasy" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Evitts (Baritone), Sanford Sylvan (Baritone), Nan Nall (Soprano),
Shirley Close (Mezzo Soprano), Rudolf Serkin (Piano), Beverly Morgan (Mezzo Soprano),
Gene Tucker (Tenor)
Conductor:  Peter Serkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra,  Marlboro Festival Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/09/1981 
Venue:  Live  Marlboro Music Festival, Marlboro, VT 
Length: 20 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: German 
29.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Alexander Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/07/1974 
Venue:  Live  Marlboro Music Festival, Marlboro, VT 
Length: 36 Minutes 12 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  6 Customer Reviews )
 Great bargain April 29, 2014 By Robert K. (Round Hill, VA) See All My Reviews "Wonderful unless you don't like either Beethoven or piano music!!! Great value for the price....buy it now!!!" Report Abuse
 A further thought May 5, 2013 By Dr. Mitchell Gurk (Spencer, MA) See All My Reviews "Comparing Serkin's Hammerklavier with Schiff. Serkin's Adagio has maximum tenderness; with the encouraging uplifting music that follows it is a panacea from Beethoven. It is this listener's conceit that from Serkin we hear the affectionate wisdom of a grandfather, and from Schiff the artful exigesis of the scholar." Report Abuse
 5 STAR bargain! February 19, 2013 By sean o. (saranac lake, NY) See All My Reviews "Good to great performances. Great Choral Fantasy. With most of these pieces my favorites lie elsewhere but still very satisfying and you can't beat the price." Report Abuse
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