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Sergio Fiorentino (1927 –1998)

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Today on “F” for February, Once Upon the Internet turns to Italian pianist Sergio Fiorentino whose sporadic performing career spanned five decades.


Hailed by critics for his unusual technical and musical endowments, Sergio Fiorentino showed his exceptional talent at an early age; he was granted a scholarship by the Italian Government at age 11 to study 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 his native country, and had won several national and international piano competitions.

Fiorentino's concert career grew steadily and took him to nearly all countries in Western Europe. His debut in New York's Carnegie Hall took place in October, 1953, a South American tour in 1954 led him to Argentina and Uruguay.

A near fatal plane accident at the end of his South American tour led him to cut back on concert performances, investing more time to teaching at the Naples conservatory where he had once been a student. In the late 1950s he made a new start in concert performances, both in his native country and in England; 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.

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

When Sergio Fiorentino resigned from the conservatory in 1993 he once again took an interest in playing in public to a greater extent. The esteem of his artistry was such that he became once again a highly sought-for pianist. He travelled to America in 1996, 1997 and 1998 to give concerts at the prestigious Newport Music Festival, in New York City and in Boston and Providence. He went to France and Taiwan and received invitations again to France, Russia, Holland and Canada. His sudeen death at home in Naples in 1998 negated many of those planned appearances.

According to Wikipedia, beginning in 1994 to after his death in 1998, a large number of recordings by Fiorentino were released. Recordings made in Berlin from 1994 to 1997 were released on APR whereas earlier unissued material was put out by the Concert Artists label. In February 2007, Concert Artists admitted to falsely attributing music recorded by the late Joyce Hatto. Subsequently, a CD of mazurkas by Fiorentino produced by Concert Artists has been found to contain plagiarised tracks from three other performers.

The recordings proposed in today’s playlist, all downloaded years ago off MP3.COM, are from re-issues by the APR record label, many of them dating 1999 series “Sergio Fiorentino:The Early Recordings”.

Enjoy!

PLAYLIST


Franz LISZT (1811-1886)

Ab Irato - Etude de perfectionnement, S. 143

Consolations, S. 172 (Selections)
  • No. 3. Lento placido (D Major)
  • No. 6. Allegretto sempre cantabile (E Major)


Schlaflos, Frage und Antwort, nocturne, S. 203

Années de pèlerinage I, S. 160 (Selections)
  • No. 3, Pastorale
  • No. 4, Au bord d'une source
  • No. 5, Orage
  • No. 7, Eglogue


Tarantella, from “Venezia e Napoli”, S. 162, no. 3

Grand Paganini Étude (Andante in E-Flat Major), S. 141, no. 2

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Romance in F-Sharp Major op. 28 no. 2

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

Preludes (Selections)
  • op. 23, no. 3 (D Minor)
  • op. 23, no. 6 (E-Flat Major)
  • op. 23, no. 7 (C Minor)
  • op. 23, no. 9 (E-Flat Minor)


Mendelssohn (Arr. Rachmaninov): Scherzo from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1933)

Sergio Fiorentino, piano
(Downloaded from MP3.COM 2001-02)

Hyperlink (Internet Archive): https://archive.org/details/SergioFiorentino

February 21, 2014, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "César Franck (The Orchestra Edition)" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel .Read more February 21 on our blogs in English and in French.
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Classical Music , Musicians , Recorded Music

Comments

  1. Itullian's Avatar
    Great article. thank you
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