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Peter Serkin Plays Chopin


Release Date: 02/06/2008 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 37084  
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

*** This title is a reissue of a Japanese release with liner notes in Japanese. ***

Intimate and thoughtfully detailed - Peter Serkin's unconventional Chopin always fascinates and often compels.

Peter Serkin made three all-Chopin albums for RCA Victor, reissued in Japan in a two-CD set, now available to American collectors by way of Arkivmusic.com's on-demand reprint program. The first session transpired in 1978 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. RCA's Studio A provided the venue for the two subsequent albums, stemming from 1980 and 1981 digital recordings. The 1978 analogue tapes reveal a warmer, mellower piano sound than the digital productions' brighter, closer, and slightly harsher
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Listeners accustomed to Rubinstein's panache or Argerich's volatility may be caught off-guard by Serkin's intimate, thoughtfully detailed, basically reserved approach to this composer. However, repeated hearings gradually reveal the strong sense of design and surface refinement behind Serkin's conceptions. At the pianist's broader-than-usual tempos, the flashy filigree in the Grande Polonaise and the rarely heard Op. 12 Variations acquire heightened rhythmic clarity and welcome breathing room. Also note how Serkin minutely differentiates each of the A-flat Impromptu's repeated phrases as he scans them across the bar lines, or listen to the leisurely unfolding contrapuntal interplay in the great E-flat Op. 55 No. 2 Nocturne and the E major Op. 62 No. 2 Nocturne's last pages.

At first nothing much seems to happen in Serkin's calm, controlled Berceuse, only because the tiny dynamic gradations and shifts in voicing catch you unaware. So do the incisive finales of the Third Ballade and Polonaise-Fantasie, where Serkin otherwise downplays the expected declamatory drama. By contrast, Serkin underplays the F major Op. 15 No. 1 Nocturne's anguished central section and lingers over the Barcarolle's multi-layered details to the point where the music bogs down. His brisk A-flat Op. 64 No. 3 Waltz is a more lilting manifestation of Rachmaninov's unusually brisk and austere rendition. Perhaps the Mazurkas best exemplify Serkin's penchant for the unexpected, from the C major Op. 56 No. 2's strange mixture of earthy swagger and chaste, clipped chords to the pianist's quirky embellishments in the B-flat Op. 7 No. 1. In short, Peter Serkin's unconventional Chopin always fascinates and often compels. Notes in Japanese only.

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

1. Variations for Piano in B flat major on a theme from Hérold's "Ludovic", B 80/Op. 12 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Paris, France 
2. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, Op. 15: no 1 in F major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
3. Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 153/Op. 56: no 2 in C major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Paris, France 
4. Mazurka for Piano in A flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
5. Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 41: no 3 in B major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Paris, France 
6. Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 115/Op. 33: no 2 in D major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; Paris, France 
7. Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 68: no 4 in F minor, B 168 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Paris, France 
8. Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7: no 1 in B flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Vienna, Austria 
9. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 161/Op. 62: no 2 in E major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Paris, France 
10. Waltzes (3) for Piano, B 164/Op. 64: no 3 in A flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Paris, France 
11. Nouvelles Etudes (3) for Piano, B 130: no 2 in A flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Paris, France 
12. Prelude for Piano in A flat major, B 86 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834; Paris, France 
13. Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
14. Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Paris, France 
15. Polonaise-fantaisie for Piano in A flat major, B 159/Op. 61 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Poland 
16. Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 34: no 3 in F major, B 118 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Paris, France 
17. Waltzes (3) for Piano, B 164/Op. 64: no 1 in D flat major "Minute Waltz" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Paris, France 
18. Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 70: no 1 in G flat major, B 92 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Paris, France 
19. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, Op. 15: no 2 in F sharp major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
20. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 142/Op. 48: no 2 in F sharp minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
21. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 27: no 2 in D flat major, B 96 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
22. Impromptu for Piano no 3 in G flat major, b 149/Op. 51 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
23. Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 157/Op. 59 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Paris, France 
24. Impromptu for Piano no 1 in A flat major, B 110/Op. 29 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Paris, France 
25. Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
26. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, B 54/Op. 9: no 2 in E flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
27. Andante spianato et Grand polonaise brillante in E flat major, Op. 22 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Vienna, Austria 

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