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Incomparable Rudolf Serkin


Price: CDN$ 25.68 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. 1. Vivace, Ma Non Troppo - Adagio Espressivo
2. 2. Prestissimo
3. 3. Gesangvoll, Mit Innigster Empfindung (Andante Molto Cantabile Ed Espressivo)
4. Variation I: Molto Espressivo
5. Variation II: Leggiermente
6. Variation III: Allegro Vivace
7. Variation IV: Etwas Langsamer Als Das Thema (Un Poco Meno Andante Cio E Un Poco Piu Adagio Come Il Tema)
8. Variation V: Allegro, Ma Non Troppo
9. Variation VI: Tempo I Del Tema (Cantabile)
10. 1. Moderato Cantabile Molto Espressivo
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. 1. Allegro Non Troppo - Mstislav Rostropovich
2. 2. Andante - Mstislav Rostropovich
3. Allegro - Mstislav Rostropovich
4. 1. Allegro Assai (Cadenza: Mozart)
5. 2. Andante
6. 3. (Rondeau:) Allegro Di Molto (Cadenza: Mozart)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Illuminating Aug. 2 2008
By David Saemann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These CDs document the last stage in Serkin's career, when his aprroach to the keyboard was less stentorian than it had been in earlier years. Serkin at this stage in his life was more adept at just letting things happen at the keyboard, rather than ploughing on through. For most listeners, the centerpiece of this set will be the performance of Beethoven's last three sonatas, recorded live in Vienna in 1987, when Serkin was 84. Except for one obvious splice in Sonata No. 31, the performances seem to be presented unedited. There are numerous finger slips, such that this could not really be recommended as someone's first recordings of these works. In spite of this, Serkin conveys the architecture of these pieces with a sureness that may not be equalled in my experience. I heard Serkin perform the Hammerklavier in the 1970's, and these performances of the last sonatas preserve a rarer sort of pianism than I remember. The last movement of No. 32 almost made me cry; it seemed to come from another world. The performance of the Brahms with Rostropovich appears to be an excellent performance. I say appears, because the sound engineering is rather pinched, with a weak and almost tinny representation of the piano. There is no such problem in the live 1988 Vienna performance of Mozart's 16th Concerto. Here the sound is excellent, with Abbado's orchestra in superb form. Serkin, at 85, no longer could command the pearly tone he had on the famous record of Concertos 19 and 20 with George Szell. Instead, one gets a highly nuanced, carefully shaded performance, a little clattery at times but always invigorating. There is nothing sentimental about Serkin's Mozart. So, this is a set one must purchase knowing what one is getting into, but with that proviso it is highly rewarding.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I must protest! July 6 2011
By Jurgen Lawrenz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This annoying habit of over-enthusiastic reviewers to award 5 stars to recordings that are obviously defective is misleading, unhelpful and downright unfair to better albums.
One reviewer here has plenty to cavil with: he finds slips of the fingers, players "mooning", and other problems with this album. So I ask: what is a prospective buyer to understand, who is maybe not besotted with Serkin the pianist, but wants an outstanding recording of the music?
That buyer will live to regret his decision, is what I say.
Being able to play Beethoven's late sonatas with lots of fingering (as well as rhythmical!) problems is not something that should be excused by old age. This is OK in a live performance, but not a recording. The listener will, after three or four auditions, become irritated - after all, on a recording these mishaps become part of the music. So this recording is not a service to the music.
Is it a service to the pianist? I doubt it. There have been other great(er) pianists than Serkin who performed the same music with greater security in execution in old age - Arrau or Backhaus, for example. Both their performances give deeply felt, profound readings with hardly noticeable slips. I can't see the point in keeping quiet about these alternatives. But Serkin was well past it when these recordings were made, and they are not a service to his memory. They are saddening testimony to the frailty of human hands and fingers, and it would have been preferable for recording companies to revere him by giving us more recordings he made in his prime.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An inspiring sample of the aging Serkin Dec 4 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Serkin deserves to be called "incomparable," but not everything on this bargain two-fer does. I was well satisfied by Op. 109 and 110, the strongest parts of a live recital from Vienna in 1984, when Serkin was past eighty. Not only is there the directness and integrity one identifies with Serkin, but he almost effortlessly captures a rightness in his Beethoven, something I also associate with Schnabel, Edwin Fischer, and, very differently, Richter. But Op. 111 finds him flagging physically, and the playing flattens out rather than building to a great emotional crescendo. In the erlier sonatas Serkin compensates for his age, however, through insight and authority. The live recording by Austrian Radio is startlingly lifelike and clear, probably the best piano sound Serkin ever got.

CD 2 is more problematic. His pairing with Rostropovich in 1982 (they recorded in the Kennedy Center, where the cellist was conductor of the Naitonal Sym.) produced a set of Brahms Cello Sonatas that won critical praise, but here in Sonata no. 1 both musicians seem too relaxed, even moony. The passion and drive tht du Pre and Barenboim bring to this wonderfully passionate work are absent. DG's sound exaggerates the size of the cello, making it loom louder -- and much closer -- than the piano.

But we end on a high note with the Mozart Piano Cto. no. 16 K. 451, recorded live in 1988 under Claudio Abbado. DG wasn't always fortunate in having to catch Serkin at such an advanced age (he had just turned 85), and quite a few of the other Mozart concertos he did with Abbado seem sadly diminished. However, Serkin rouses himself to something like his old panache and brio on this occasion, and the conducting is also in high spirits. We get a last listen of the great man with a smiling flourish of D major, only slightly second best to seeing him walking down a country road in Vermont on his way to Marlboro.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
very warm piano only serkin can make this sound Oct. 31 2008
By Kwan Young Soo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
warm and like mother feeling sound of beethoven sonanta

must have it


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