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Rudolf Serkin

The Lost Tapes – Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 21 & 23 (CD)

Rudolf Serkin — one of the greatest Beethoven performers.

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.

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

Long considered lost, this tape has now resurfaced and the recording is being issued for the first time.

Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major “Waldstein” op. 53
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor “Appassionata” op. 57

Rudolf Serkin, piano