Rudolf Serkin's 1964 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in C minor is surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, and certainly his finest performance of the work. The energy and enthusiasm and even passion he brings to Concerto in C minor is overwhelming, and indeed, it overwhelms Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, who accompany Serkin with the sort of commitment that only a conductor and orchestra give to soloists when they are deeply inspired. But while Serkin's 1962 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in E flat major is also surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, it is not quite Serkin's finest recording of the work.
Andras Schiff and Peter Serkin, internationally celebrated and multi-award winning classical soloists, make their New Series debuts with Music for Two Pianos. Regarded as 2 of the greatest pianists of our time, Schiff and Serkin are very seldom heard - as they are here - as piano duo. With this recording, ECM begins a long-term relationship with Andras Schiff, a musician described by Gramophone magazine as "a unique poetic voice among the pianists".
Rudolf Serkin emerged from the environment of post-World War I Austria to become one of the most profound and challenging pianists of the century. (…) Rudolf Serkin's discography is impressive, spanning most of the general repertory from Bach to the early/mid-twentieth century, and including such relative novelties as the F minor Concerto of Max Reger, a composer Serkin had an abiding affinity for. His work at the Curtis Institute, and, during the summers, at the Marlboro Festival, has made him one of the most influential American teachers of the post-World War II era.
This concert was performed at the Musicvereinsalle in Vienna and was broadcast throughout Austria and most of Western Europe. Rudi was 85 years old at this time. He died three years later and is buried in Vermont. No one has ever played Beethoven with such passion and beauty in the 20th Century..
… boldly carved, formidable in articulation, bright in tone, inspired in sensibility… [Serkin's] profundity makes him a paragon among pianists of the mid-20th century.(The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians)
Historical recording, over 5 decades old, but still "in the mood"
From the notes: Charisma is an overworked term, but there are times when no other will do. Rudolf
Serkin had it in abundance. He had no striking physical feature that would at once single him out. […..] He had only an aura - of power, yes, but not the power of a politician or a great impresario; rather, it was a power of incorruptibility formed by an iron discipline, which one felt instinctively.
Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, completed about the same time as the Eroica Symphony, has suddenly become popular. One reason for its previous lack of popularity was the fact that three soloists cost three times as much as one normally expensive pianist, violinist or cellist. Another reason is that the work seeks to be a popular success, hence the Rondo alla Polacca with which it concludes. The piano part was intended for Beethoven’s patron and pupil, the Archduke Rudolph von Habsburg, and hence is less technically demanding than the composer’s usual pianistic writing, destined for himself. The standard CD (previously LP) of the work was a spectacular performance and recording made by EMI many years ago with David Oistrakh, Rostropovich and Richter with the Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan. It was opulently played with the BPO’s luscious sound, but has little to do with what Beethoven would have heard in 1804. Another choice was the version of Stern, Rose and Serkin (Sony), less lush and not so high-powered as Karajan’s.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique perform the world's most iconic piece of classical music, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Bringing out all the revolutionary fervour that Gardiner believes underpins the work and performing on period instruments of Beethoven's day, this performance brings us an authentic re-imagination of the sounds Beethoven's original audiences would have heard. Shot on location in St John's Smith Square, the performance looks and sounds stunning. Ahead of the performance, Gardiner and the principals of the orchestra discuss the issues in trying to breathe new life into such a famous piece and how their period instruments transform the symphony's sound.
Ian Hislop and John Eliot Gardiner reveal the story behind Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Described as the 'greatest 'great' piece ever written,' its opening notes are among the most recognisable in history. But no one really knows what Beethoven was trying to express with this piece. The traditional wisdom is that he is railing against fate and his deafness. But John Eliot believes the music expresses Beethoven's belief in the French Revolution. This is turbulent music from a turbulent man living in a turbulent age. John Eliot and Ian Hislop bring to life the exciting and dangerous times that shaped Beethoven personally and creatively.