Sviatoslav Richter

Biography

Born: March 20, 1915; Russia   Died: August 1, 1997; Russia  
Having learned the fundamentals of music from his father, Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter taught himself the piano and had already given public concerts before entering the Moscow Conservatory in 1937. While still a student, Richter won first prize at the All-Union Contest of Performers of 1945. His playing earned him considerable renown, and by the time of his graduation in 1947 he had devoted fans. In 1949 he garnered the coveted Stalin Read more Prize.
Richter gave the 1942 premiere of Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6 -- the composer's first work in that form for years, and the first one he did not premiere himself. This resulted in wild acclaim for both performer and composer. Thereafter, Richter was a great proponent of Prokofiev's music, premiering also the Seventh and the Ninth Sonatas, the latter of which is dedicated to him.
Though word of Richter's excellence (and occasional poor-quality recordings) had spread outside of Russia, his foreign engagements were limited to Eastern Bloc countries (and, in one case, China) where Soviet officials felt there was reduced risk of defection. However, his 1958 performance of Prokofiev's Fifth Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra (on tour in Leningrad) generated such excitement that he was finally permitted to tour the United States, further bolstering his reputation as a virtuoso. Engagements in all of world's musical centers followed. Richter was known as a pianist of transcendent abilities, particularly adept at highlighting the nuances of different styles. Though his interests focused primarily on music of Beethoven, and Prokofiev, he was also highly regarded for his Schubert, Schumann, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel; and in the early 1960s he made a memorable recording of Benjamin Britten's Piano Concerto with the composer conducting.
Richter did not favor studio recordings; therefore, most of his recordings are from live performances. Many of them, particularly those from Soviet concerts, suffer from indifferent sound quality and excessive audience noise, but his playing had an electric quality that transcended these handicaps.
The pianist earned a reputation for being difficult and aloof. He was notoriously apt to cancel performances on whims, or arrive late without explanation or apology. However, those who heard him were rarely disappointed. He preferred intimate concert settings over big auditoriums, and thus returned many times to the Aldeburgh and Spoleto Festivals. He was the centerpiece of the Fętes Musicales, held annually beginning in 1964 at Grange de Meslay, near Tours.
Among his greatest recordings are his Schubert sonatas, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev concertos, Liszt concertos (these have the benefits of first-rate sound), and his Schumann. He has also served as a chamber musician and accompanist, playing piano duets with Britten, and accompanying Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, among others. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 268 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Mussorgsky & Tchaikovsky: Piano Works / Richter
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350076 Release Date: 10/07/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
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  • 2.
    Mozart: Piano Sonatas (Arr. Grieg for 2 Pianos) / Leonskaja, Richter
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 557399 Release Date: 09/16/2016  
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Elisabeth Leonskaja,  Sviatoslav Richter
    CD: $11.99
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  • 3.
    The Originals, Vol. 2
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002534902 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Helmut Walcha,  Nathan Milstein,  Géza Anda,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Eugen Jochum,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall (Selected Highlights)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 530420 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Paul de Schlözer,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Turini,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jorge Bolet,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Arturo Toscanini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
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  • 5.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 6.
    Bruno Monsaingeon Edition, Vol. 3 / Richter, Rozhdestvensky
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 27527 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Capella Symphony Orchestra,  Choir Of Russia
    DVD: $73.99
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  • 7.
    Bartok: Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002459502 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Erich Binder,  Zoltán Kocsis,  Viktoria Mullova,  Gil Shaham  ... 
    Conductor:  Gyorgy Lehel,  Iván Fischer,  Antal Doráti,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $212.49
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: Diabelli Variations - Mozart: Violin Sonata, K. 379 / Richter, Kagan
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1310 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Oleg Kagan
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  • 9.
    Deutsche Grammophon: The Mono Era (1948-1957)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002457272 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Askenase,  Shura Cherkassky,  Halina Czerny-Stefanska,  Basile Bolotine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Karl Böhm,  Serge Jaroff,  Leopold Ludwig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $145.99
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  • 10.
    Kurt Sanderling Edition
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 13037 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Thomas Zehetmair,  Antonio Meneses,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Annette Markert
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Violin Sonatas, Nos. 5, 6 & 9 / Oistrakh
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250322 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Frida Bauer,  Sviatoslav Richter
    CD: $22.99
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  • 12.
    Brahms: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 & Scherzo, WoO 2 / Oistrakh
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250321 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  David Oistrakh,  Frida Bauer
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  • 13.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 14.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 15.
    The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403602 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Guillaume de Machaut,  John Dunstable  ... 
    Performer:  Konrad Ragossnig,  Charles [Tenor Vocals] Daniels,  Susan Gritton,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pater Godehard Joppich,  David Munrow,  Josef Ulsamer,  Bruno Turner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London,  Ulsamer-Collegium,  Pro Cantione Antiqua  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 16.
    Richter Rarities With Orchestra
    Label: Parnassus Records   Catalog: 96056 Release Date: 10/16/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Riccardo Muti,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  George Georgeseu
    CD: $13.99
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  • 17.
    Wolf: Morike Lieder / Fischer-Dieskau, Richter
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186219 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Sviatoslav Richter
    SuperAudio CD: $15.99
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  • 18.
    Bach, Beethoven: Live Performances 1948 & 1968 / Sviatoslav Richter
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 8043 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 19.
    Scriabin: Complete Piano Sonatas / Sofronitzky, Neuhaus, Richter
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 15007 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin
    Performer:  Vladimir Sofronitzki,  Heinrich Neuhaus,  Sviatoslav Richter
    CD: $34.99
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  • 20.
    Schubert: Trout Quintet; Sonata Arpeggione; Quartettsatz
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1294 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Georg Hörtnagel,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Daniil Shafran,  Felix Gottlieb
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin String Quartet members,  Tokyo String Quartet
    CD: $9.99
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  • 21.
    Shostakovich Plays Shostakovich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564615501 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 22.
    Szymanowski: 100th Birthday Concerts
    Label: Parnassus Records   Catalog: 96054 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Karol Szymanowski
    Performer:  Galina Pisarenko,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Oleg Kagan
    CD: $24.49
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  • 23.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 24.
    Sviatoslav Richter: The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301470 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Robert La Marchina,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Christoph Eschenbach
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  • 25.
    Scriabin: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280502 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Alexander Nemtin
    Performer:  Valentina Lisitsa,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Gordon Fergus-Thompson,  Vovka Ashkenazy  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Igor Golovchin,  Valery Gergiev,  Eliahu Inbal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Moscow Symphony Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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