Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major ("Emperor"), Op. 73
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 13: III. Rondo. Allegro
- III. Rondo. Allegro (04:13)
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. Because for all the athletic power and beatific grace of Serkin's performance with Bernstein, he had recorded the work 20 years earlier with Bruno Walter and the New York Philharmonic and, fine as Bernstein and the New York are, Walter and the New York are incomparably finer: more polished, more passionate, and more attuned to Serkin's magisterial interpretation. Nevertheless, then as now, Serkin's early-'60s recordings of Beethoven's C minor and E flat major piano concertos are still surely among the greatest ever made and you know that can't be bad. Sony's remastered sound is crisper and deeper than its last remastered sound, but still no real improvement over the 40-year-old LPs.