The 25 Essential Beethoven Recordings: Rudolf Serkin Plays Sonatas

Friday, November 02, 2012

This recording – containing four of Beethoven's named sonatas – provides an excellent introduction to the unique music-making of Rudolf Serkin.

The Bohemian-born pianist (1903-1991) was not considered by keyboard connoisseurs to be one of the great, naturally talented pianists. Yet he approached his craft with intensity and dedication, and was widely considered the most authoritative Beethoven interpreter in the decades after World War II. He recorded many of Beethoven's sonatas and concertos several times and gave them a unique brand of austere, even severe, intensity and directness.

Serkin's avoidance of the rubato – that push and pull of melody – is said to have characterized Beethoven's own performances in their day. The opening of the “Moonlight,” for instance, traces a lucid and dramatic narrative – no blurred dreaminess here. A charged intensity characterizes his “Appassionata” performance, yet nothing feels forced.

“What he hears within him is unsurpassed in purity and nobility; and what he feels is felt with the utmost sincerity and selflessness,” wrote WQXR music director Abram Chasins in 1957.

Rudolf Serkin
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 27 No. 2 ("Moonlight"); Op. 13 ("Pathetique"); Op. 57 ("Appassionata") and Op. 81a (“Les Adieux”)
Available at Arkivmusic.com

Tags:

More in:

Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard wagner Music Drama institute, Boonton, NJ

Beethoven's universal scope in symphonies, concertos, sonatas, string quartets, overtures, chamber music generally ,and song literature is so pervasive and his world consciousness and basic humanity construct an icon unparalled to and past his own era. At Juilliard, I studied his oeuvre and , in those days, all singers learned the concert rep of Beethoven , Schubert , Schumann, Wolf and Grieg, whether they would be opera singers or concert singers. So much of our treasured masterpiece, vocal and instrumental, are unknown quantities to most Americans. THANK YOU WQXR FOR CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN !!! Beethoven's symphonies are the ABCs of most essential single composers' oeuvre of the symphonic literature. Who ever having heard the Waldstein well performed can ever forget its beauty and nuanced scope of emotions. Wagner and his contemporaries and their successors all recognized the epic achievement of Beethoven. I am a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute at 418A Main Street, Boonton, NJ .I have sung four solo concerts in four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I sang the Gott ! welch dunkel hier ! aria of Fidelio. it can be heard from the live performance on my three websites. It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. Rudolf Serkin and his son, Peter are among those other great interpreters of Beethoven's piano concertos and sonatas, Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Walter Gieseking, ignace Paderewvski and Simon Barere, remarkable for their virtuosity, and immense ability to interpret from their own perspective.

Nov. 12 2012 08:49 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner

Beethoven's universal scope in symphonies, concertos, sonatas, string quartets, overtures, chamber music generally ,and song literature is so pervasive and his world consciousness and basic humanity construct an icon unparalled to and past his own era. At Juilliard, I studied his oeuvre and , in those days, all singers learned the concert rep of Beethoven , Schubert , Schumann, Wolf and Grieg, whether they would be opera singers or concert singers. So much of our treasured masterpiece, vocal and instrumental, are unknown quantities to most Americans. THANK YOU WQXR FOR CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN !!! Beethoven's symphonies are the ABCs of most essential single composers' oeuvre of the symphonic literature. Who ever having heard the Waldstein well performed can ever forget its beauty and nuanced scope of emotions. Wagner and his contemporaries and their successors all recognized the epic achievement of Beethoven. I am a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute at 418A Main Street, Boonton, NJ .I have sung four solo concerts in four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I sang the Gott ! welch dunkel hier ! aria of Fidelio. it can be heard from the live performance on my three websites. It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines.

Nov. 12 2012 08:38 AM
Oliver Yourke from Brooklyn

Serkin has always been one of my favorite pianists, and I just glad that he is still being recognized long after his passing--so many others of the early to mid-twentieth century have been forgotten. His recording of the late Beethoven sonatas is excellent.

Nov. 02 2012 01:20 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Follow WQXR 

 

 

 

 

Sponsored

About Beethoven Awareness Month

No composer impacted the course of Western music like Ludwig van Beethoven. The events of his life are the stuff of Romantic legend, his works permeate concert halls and he remains a cultural icon outside of classical music, turning up in movies, TV soundtracks, commercials and pop songs. Throughout November, WQXR celebrates Beethoven's work through concert broadcasts, multimedia projects, marathons and other features.

Feeds