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That initial recital was bypassed by the New York Times; the second
one was covered though in a noblesse-oblige tone that seemed unduly
patronizing. A planned third visit to New York and elsewhere would have
brought even more accolades from those among whom the word had been spreading.
But then, just a little over a year ago in August 1998, Fiorentino died,
presumably from a heart attack.
Sergio Fiorentino with Igor Kipnis. Photo: Newport Music Festival
After each of these two relatively recent New York events both I and
my duo-piano partner, Karen Kushner, welcomed the opportunity to meet and
chat with Fiorentino over dinner. We found him quite delightful, exceedingly
modest, happy to be talking about pianists of the past (he was very fond
of Fischer and Cortot), and smoking up a storm. Though clearly tired from
his evening efforts, he left the unmistakeable impression that, had there
been the opportunity, he might easily have served his enraptured listeners
with yet another seven encores.
Copyright © Igor
Kipnis, November 5th 1999
Visit the Igor Kipnis web
for further biographical information and an illustrated discography
Bibliographically, Sergio Fiorentino, 'forgotten hero of the keyboard,'
grandpupil of Busoni, was not well-served during his lifetime. Aside from
a cursory five-line listing in Wilson Lyle's A Dictionary of Pianists
(1985), he is mentioned in neither New Grove (1980) nor Alain Paris's
Dictionnaire des interpretes (1982 rev ed 1995). The following essential
reading appeared during the brief life-span of International Piano Quarterly:
Bryan Crimp: 'Whatever happened to Sergio Fiorentino?', Autumn 1997
Charles Hopkins: CD review of APR 7036, 5552, 5553, 5556, Autumn 1997
Charles Hopkins: 'Sergio Fiorentino, 1927-98', obituary, Winter 1998/99
'The pianoforte has one possession wholly peculiar to itself, an inimitable
device, a photograph of the sky, a ray of moonlight - the Pedal'
- Ferruccio Busoni, Sketch of
a New Esthetic of Music (1907), translated Theodore Baker (New York
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