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Mozart: Piano Sonatas No 4, 8 & 16 / Sviatoslav Richter


Release Date: 06/04/2008 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 422583   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 48 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Richter offers some magisterial pianism, challenging insights in all three works and an uncommonly bold and disturbing vision of the great A minor Sonata.

Richter has never been especially associated with Mozart's music. But though his view of the composer may strike some as too severe and aloof, these performances do contain much remarkable music-making. More than most artists, Richter here approaches each repeat from a fresh perspective, re-examining the music in the light of what has gone before. In the Adagio first movement of K282, for instance, his playing is initially quite plain, even austere; but the repeat of the exposition brings a hint of warmth in the tone and nuances of timing and phrasing that lend a
Read more heightened expressiveness to the music.

The opening of the A minor Sonata is superbly realized, properly maestoso, with fierce, stinging attack and a masterly control of Mozart's long, highly charged paragraphs. Then, with the exposition repeat, the manner grows perceptibly graver and weightier, the music's pain and bitterness now tempered with a weary fatalism. In fact, Richter seems to me magnificent throughout this sonata, bringing an unusual urgency and disquiet to the Andante (despite moments of rather brusque, clipped phrasing) and a strangely haunted, oppressive feel to the finale.

As performed by Richter, the first movement of the little C major Sonata, K545, emerges as a tougher, more varied piece than usual, quite serious and absorbed, though the deliberate avoidance of surface charm will not please every listener. The Andante, too, seems to gain in stature from Richter's slightly cool eloquence, characteristic breadth of phrasing and complete lack of mannerism. But his persistent refusal to charm or cajole in Mozart is taken to extremes in the finale, which is hurried forward almost aggressively, with no finesse of detail. Even more disappointing is the finale of K282, lumpish, heavily articulated and overpedalled, lacking any sense of the music's elfin grace and wit.

If you follow these sonatas with a score, you'll notice that Richter is often cavalier about Mozart's dynamic markings, playing forte for piano or vice versa; and he ignores the dramatic alternations of if and pp in the first-movement development of K310, though his sustained fortissimo is undeniably effective in its way. Other minor irritants include a sprinkling of wrong notes, to be expected in a live performance, a more than usually bronchial audience and a piano tone that seems a bit clangy and not quite in focus, though I quickly got used to it. As I've suggested, this disc is far from a safe or central recommendation. But I shall return to it for some magisterial pianism, challenging insights in all three works and an uncommonly bold and disturbing vision of the great A minor Sonata.

-- Gramophone [1/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 4 in E flat major, K 282 (189g) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Munich, Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/1989 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Centre, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 15 Secs. 
2.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in A minor, K 310 (300d) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 03/1989 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Centre, London 
Length: 20 Minutes 38 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 16 in C major, K 545 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1989 
Venue:  Live  Barbican Centre, London 
Length: 13 Minutes 0 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Sonata No.4 in E flat, K.282: 1. Adagio
Piano Sonata No.4 in E flat, K.282: 2. Menuetto I-II
Piano Sonata No.4 in E flat, K.282: 3. Allegro
Piano Sonata No.16 in C, K.545 "Sonata facile": 1. Allegro
Piano Sonata No.16 in C, K.545 "Sonata facile": 2. Andante
Piano Sonata No.16 in C, K.545 "Sonata facile": 3. Rondo (Allegro)
Piano Sonata No.8 in A minor, K.310: 1. Allegro maestoso
Piano Sonata No.8 in A minor, K.310: 2. Andante cantabile con espressione
Piano Sonata No.8 in A minor, K.310: 3. Presto

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