Beethoven: The Last Six Piano Sonatas

Beethoven: The Last Six Piano Sonatas

by Peter Serkin


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Back in the '80s, there was Pro Arte, a small, Minnesota-based label specializing in classical records made using the then-new digital technology. Among its releases were three LPs featuring Peter Serkin performing late Beethoven sonatas on a strong-toned but sweet and subtle Graf fortepiano. Remastered and re-released on two CDs in 2007, Pro Arte's recordings hold up remarkably well. Though the sessions were all done in St. Mary's Chapel in St. Paul Seminary in 1984 and 1985, each of the three sessions used different microphone configurations and different instrument positioning, resulting in three very different sounding recordings ranging from the close and intimate to the big and brash. Still, whatever the configuration or positioning, the sound in these re-mastering is remarkably clean and crisp and often surprisingly present. Serkin's performances are highly individualistic, perhaps even idiosyncratic, in conception and execution. He does not refrain from driving a tempo forward into a climax nor from reigning it back for a coda. He does not shrink from emphasizing accents nor from stressing rhythm, but rather does both frequently and gladly to prove the strength of the music. Though for some there may be more interpreting in Serkin's performance than Beethoven can stand, for others they will be just the thing to enliven these familiar masterpieces.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/11/2007
Label: Musical Concepts
UPC: 0851950001223
catalogNumber: 122
Rank: 25116


  1. Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90
  2. Rondo for piano in C major, Op. 51/1
  3. Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
  4. Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major ("Hammerklavier"), Op. 106
  5. Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
  6. Rondo for piano in G major, Op. 51/2
  7. Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110
  8. Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111

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