How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

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Lance
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How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by Lance » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:11 pm

For me, Peter Serkin, one of the best (following in the footsteps of his illustrious father). He often played unusual repertoire (Messiaen), recorded for several labels, including some obscure ones. I have followed his career with interest over the years. Having visited the Marlboro Festival in Vermont a couple of times now, and given the status of his father, Rudolf Serkin with Marlboro, I am surprised the younger Serkin doesn't perform there more. Peter Serkin has made some exceptional recordings (his Mozart 2-LP set on RCA, reminded me of Glenn Gould in that he plays this music differently than most other pianists, not re-relased on CD yet, but should be). While comparisons will always be made between great fathers and their children, Peter Serkin was his own man. His discography is not huge by any standards; it nevertheless contains some wonderful readings on RCA, Decca, Pro Arte, Boston, and Vanguard (some exceptional Schubert with Alexander Schneider). Pro Arte even offers the last three Beethoven Sonatas on a period Graf piano! Pro Arte also has the two Brahms piano concertos with the Atlanta Symphony, Robert Shaw conducting.

While we don't hear much of Peter Serkin, who seems to not want to be in the limelight, his music-making is worthy of your attention. I had the pleasure of preparing his piano for recital. Another true, undemanding gentleman!
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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by John F » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:48 pm

As you say, Peter Serkin is his own man. When he was a boy, his relationship with his father was not an easy one; as I understand it, Rudolf was less a father than a demanding teacher who drove Peter hard. Since Marlboro was so bound up with Rudolf Serkin's identity, I can well understand why Peter did not want to succeed him as its director, and why it and its traditions apparently hold no attraction for him today. Besides, Peter Serkin is no teacher, and Marlboro is a music school as well as a festival.
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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 5:03 pm

He is viewed from the front row of MacArthur Theater in Princeton when he was 26, where he appears, obviously stoned, performing a Bach concerto with Alexander Schneider and Friends. (I have never been able to bear Bach concertos on piano, but as I recall, his state of, um, relaxation, did not interfere with an excellent performance. I wouldn't try it with late Beethoven or Chopin.)

That's terribly unfair, of course, to someone who has had a great career, but it was in fact my first acquaintance with his performances. The world is lousy with talent. Sometimes I don't know how our members who have a much broader acquaintance with various performances than I do ever sort things out. Just look at Rob's (reblem) recent Beethoven challenge.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by josé echenique » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:56 pm

I remember a performance of Schubert´s Die Forelle quintet with him and a group called Tashi or something, he came a few times in the 70´s, and then I lost sight of him.

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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by John F » Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:43 pm

TASHI was a remarkable group whose core members were those needed to perform Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time": Peter Serkin, Richard Stoltzman (clarinet), Ida Kavafian (violin), Fred Sherry (cello). The ensemble existed from 1973 to 1978. I'm surprised to hear that they performed the Trout Quintet, since it has no part for a clarinetist and requires two string players beyond TASHI's members. But without such arrangements, they would have been limited to a tiny repertoire.
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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by Lance » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:18 pm

I can't be certain Peter Serkin recorded the "Trout" Quintet of Schubert with Tashi (I'm sure I would have had it), but he did record it for Vanguard Records with Alexander Schneider, violin; Michael Tree, viola; David Soyer, cello, and Julius Levine, double-bass - same performance on two CDs (6144 and 72004). Tree and Soyer lived in the Binghamton, NY area performing and teaching at Binghamton University for many years while I was piano technician in residence. Marvelous folks.
josé echenique wrote:I remember a performance of Schubert´s Die Forelle quintet with him and a group called Tashi or something, he came a few times in the 70´s, and then I lost sight of him.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by John F » Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:11 am

Lance wrote:I can't be certain Peter Serkin recorded the "Trout" Quintet of Schubert with Tashi
He didn't.
Lance wrote:he did record it for Vanguard Records with Alexander Schneider, violin; Michael Tree, viola; David Soyer, cello, and Julius Levine, double-bass
Michael Tree and David Soyer were members of the Guarneri Quartet, which was formed at Marlboro 2 years before the Schubert recording was made. Schneider was at Marlboro too - he was everywhere! - but I might have expected Arnold Steinhardt to play in the recording.
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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by josé echenique » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:04 pm

John F wrote:TASHI was a remarkable group whose core members were those needed to perform Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time": Peter Serkin, Richard Stoltzman (clarinet), Ida Kavafian (violin), Fred Sherry (cello). The ensemble existed from 1973 to 1978. I'm surprised to hear that they performed the Trout Quintet, since it has no part for a clarinetist and requires two string players beyond TASHI's members. But without such arrangements, they would have been limited to a tiny repertoire.
Maybe I got confused with that recording which I owned on LP. But he did perform the Schubert.

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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by maestrob » Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:35 pm

josé echenique wrote:
John F wrote:TASHI was a remarkable group whose core members were those needed to perform Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time": Peter Serkin, Richard Stoltzman (clarinet), Ida Kavafian (violin), Fred Sherry (cello). The ensemble existed from 1973 to 1978. I'm surprised to hear that they performed the Trout Quintet, since it has no part for a clarinetist and requires two string players beyond TASHI's members. But without such arrangements, they would have been limited to a tiny repertoire.
Maybe I got confused with that recording which I owned on LP. But he did perform the Schubert.
Yes, Pepe, he did record it. and it's a delightful reading.


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Re: How is PETER SERKIN viewed by piano aficionados?

Post by karlhenning » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:19 am

I think very highly of Serkin. Fair Disclosure: My erstwhile teacher, Chas Wuorinen, wrote both his Fourth Piano Concerto and his Second Piano Quintet for Serkin, and I heard him perform both, smashingly.

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