The Music Treasury for 23 June 2018 — Sergio Fiorentino, Piano

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The Spring broadcast time of The Music Treasury on KZSU 90.1 FM remains Sunday, from 19:00 to 21:00 PDT.  You can also listen online at kzsulive.stanford.edu during the broadcast time.

The Music Treasury for Sunday evening, June 23, 2019,  7 – 9 PM

Note — this show is rescheduled for an program originally to air on 2 June 2019.

Sergio Fiorentino plays Rachmaninov

The Italian pianist, Sergio Fiorentino (December 22, 1927 – August 22, 1998), showed his exceptional talent at an early age. Granted a scholarship by the Ministry of Education in 1938, he studied at the Conservatorio “San Pietro a Majella” under Luigi Finizio and Paolo Denza, earning his diploma in 1946. In 1948 he attended a master-class of Carlo Zecchi in Salzburg. By that time he had already begun his career as a solo and trio player in Italy, and had won several national and international piano competitions.

Hailed by critics for his unusual technical and musical endowments, Fiorentino’s concert career grew steadily and took him to nearly all countries in Western Europe. His debut in Carnegie Recital Hall took place in October 1953; a South American tour in 1954 led him to Argentina and Uruguay. He was under contract with concert agencies such as Adler, Gérard and de Valmalète. However, a near fatal plane accident at the end of his South American tour resulted in a severe cut-back of his activities. He took on a post as a teacher at his old conservatory in Naples. Even though he overcame his physical handicap after awhile, the demands of his Naples position and his absence from international concert stages cost him his agents.

He made a new start in the late fifties in England, playing frequently in Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London, and in other cities in the UK. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra accompanied him in performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, de Falla and Gershwin. Most of his recordings were made during those years.

Various circumstances, among these a growing unease with the strenuous life of being an itinerant musician and teacher simultaneously, prompted him to withdraw again from an extensive concert life. He limited his rare public appearances to Italy and began giving regular master classes, working also occasionally for Italian radio RAI.

After resigning from the conservatory in 1993, he once again took an interest in playing in public. A year earlier, an invitation to play four recitals in Germany was a great success and resulted in annual appearances there. The esteem for his artistry was such that he became once again highly sought-after. He travelled to America in 1996, 1997 and 1998 to give concerts at the Newport Music Festival, in New York City (Alice Tully Hall), and in Boston and Providence. He went to France (Angoulême) and Taiwan (Taipeh) and received invitations again to France (Montpellier), Russia (Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk), Holland (Utrecht) and Canada (Ottawa). In 1994 he also embarked upon a major recording project in Berlin, confiding his unique art to no less than 10 CD’s released on a regular basis  by the British label APR. The “Indian summer” of his on-and-off-career, was, alas, cut-off by his sudden death, depriving the musical world of a master of rare stature worth mentioning only with the greatest names in his profession. Luckily, and due to the tireless work of Concert Artist/Fidelio Recordings, a substantial part of his recorded repertoire that never saw publication, has now been prepared for release by both Concert Artist/Fidelio and APR. All these recordings were made in England during the fifties and sixties and are a major extension of his recorded repertoire.

This evening’s all-Rachmaninov program derives from a series of recording sessions made 11-29 September 1987 at the Auditorium D, Scarlatti RAI, Naples. The transfers to the Rhine Records label have been made by Emilio Pessina.

Program Rachmaninov:
Five Morceau de fantasie, Op. 3
Andante semplice in A-flat Major; Oriental Sketch (1917)
Preludes, Op. 32: Nos 1-2
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 1 (1919 vers.)
Eight Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 33Two Nocturnes (1887-88)
Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 43

 

 

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