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Historic Russian Archives - Sviatoslav Richter In Concert


Release Date: 09/28/2004 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 92229   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenFranz LisztFranz Schubert
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 6 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Historic Russian Archives: Sviatoslav Richter in Concert may be the bargain of the century. Richter played these 15 works in Moscow, and 10 of these performances are appearing for the first time: all five Schubert pieces, the Liszt Sonata, and Beethoven’s Nos. 17, 18, 27, and 28. The sound is consistently fine, the 1970s recordings being in stereo. Even the monaural ones are warm yet detailed; a few have an occasional odd rumble that may be due to noise processing. Audiences are generally quiet; applause is cut off almost immediately. The packaging is attractive and sensible: heavy paper sleeves in a slim cardboard box. All share one photo of an aging Richter
Read more at the keyboard. The accompanying booklet devotes 10 pages to the sonatas (ignoring the Allegretto) and one to the pianist.

There is little one can say about this music; any collection of nine Beethoven sonatas must include many masterpieces and many favorites, especially when five of the final six are included. These performances are truly amazing, even by Richter standards. Every note is crisp and clear; whole sonatas pass by without a single slip. His easy perfection of technique allowed Richter to create on the spot, and his every performance of a work was different from the last (which may relate to the straightjacket he felt at formal recording sessions, where every take had to match). These Beethoven sonatas are played as if they were new, making each seem fresh to the listener as well. In the past, a few of his Beethoven performances have struck me as being too adventurous, too unconventional. Not so here; each one works. Richter tends to play the early sonatas as if they were middle-period works, using an enormous dynamic range, with grand climaxes, in a Romantic style. Op. 2/3 and op. 7 respond well to this, the latter being the first performance I have ever liked of the piece. I always wondered what was wrong with me that I did not appreciate a Beethoven sonata; Richter has solved my problem. He makes the most of the contrasts in the “Tempest,” of both tempos and dynamics; no one can hold the tension through an Adagio as well as Richter, and he coaxes an unmatched lyricism from the finale. Op. 31/3 is more relaxed and more natural than the May 3, 1965, Carnegie Hall performance, five months earlier, which was one of the ones to which I objected. The late sonatas are all stunning, the performances of the final three miraculous. The playing is worthy of the music.

One must listen to Schubert sonatas on a different day than Beethoven’s, lest their directness be thought a fault. The two 1817 sonatas here aptly balance the two late ones. Richter plays them with utmost clarity, and with a simplicity that avoids any thought of Schubert’s great contemporary. In the B-Major Sonata, the music and the pianist seem to look forward to those of a decade later; it is odd that the disc places it after the final sonata (they were not from the same concert). The E-Minor Sonata has none of that suggestion, and even Richter cannot convince us that the first two movements are of more than passing interest; it finally comes to life in the Allegretto finale. In Richter’s hands, the long Fantasy that opens the G-Major Sonata seems to float in a timeless space, its occasional outbursts shockingly grim. He sustains the mood through the Andante and even the Menuetto, after which the Rondo finale comes as a long sigh of relief. In a performance to treasure, Richter plays the Allegretto in C Minor more slowly and more lyrically than Schnabel’s famous 1939 recording. In the final sonata, in B?, Richter expands his range of tone color and dynamics to meet the many moods of the opening Molto moderato; only the initial theme and its reappearances are bleak. The piano seems less satisfactory than in the other items here, with some dead top notes and, by the finale, some slightly flat ones as well; the 1961 recording, the earliest in this set, adds to the problem. Later Richter performances of this work have come across better on disc. Richter’s Liszt sonata vies with Leon Fleisher’s for sheer power and technical panache. Fleisher is the more upright, more forceful, but Richter finds a mystery that eludes the American, an ever-varying shading, which keeps the listener entranced, wondering what more can happen. Constantly changing tempos surge forward at one moment and draw back the next. One feels Richter abandoning all caution, and a few missed notes intrude, but there is no denying the breath-taking results. The poetic sections of the music are given equally compelling attention.
For consistency, imagination, and brilliance, this set gives us Richter at his best. There is no one like him.

James H. North, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Piano no 27 in E minor, Op. 90 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 12 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1972 
Length: 18 Minutes 24 Secs. 
3. Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 20 Minutes 31 Secs. 
4. Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1975 
Length: 23 Minutes 5 Secs. 
5. Sonata for Piano no 4 in E flat major, Op. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1975 
Length: 27 Minutes 23 Secs. 
6. Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 23 Minutes 42 Secs. 
7. Sonata for Piano no 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 22 Minutes 27 Secs. 
8. Sonata for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 2 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794-1795; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1975 
Length: 26 Minutes 55 Secs. 
9. Sonata for Piano no 28 in A major, Op. 101 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 19 Minutes 7 Secs. 
10. Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 29 Minutes 56 Secs. 
11. Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1961 
Length: 43 Minutes 54 Secs. 
12. Sonata for Piano in B major, D 575/Op. posth by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1965 
Length: 24 Minutes 45 Secs. 
13. Sonata for Piano in E minor, D 566 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Length: 20 Minutes 7 Secs. 
14. Sonata for Piano in G major, D 894/Op. 78 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Length: 45 Minutes 51 Secs. 
15. Allegretto for Piano in C minor, D 915 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Length: 7 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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