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Richter In Hungary (1954-1993)

Richter / Sviatoslav
Release Date: 05/11/2010 
Label:  Budapest Music Center/Bmc (Hungary)   Catalog #: 171   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannVarious
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
Conductor:  János Ferencsik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Mono/Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Contains 14 CDs with booklet and in-depth notes. Sviatoslav Richter recordings selected by pianist Dezsö Ránki.

This handsomely produced 14-CD boxed set surveys live performances by Sviatoslav Richter in Budapest, recorded by Hungarian Radio from March 1954 up through the pianist's final Budapest recital devoted entirely to the Grieg Lyric Pieces on November 9, 1993. Collectors may have encountered certain items on various independent labels or via private CDR bootlegs; however, BMC's transfers purportedly stem from first-generation source material and sound as good as they'll get.

For example, Pyramid released the Chopin Rondo à la Mazur Op. 5 and Debussy Preludes Book 2, both attributed to an
Read more August 16, 1967 concert. However, the identical performances (dated August 28 here) sound far superior via BMC's transfers, as if gauze has been lifted, with all of the audience coughs and piano-bench noises coming fully into focus.

A West Hill Radio Archives release titled "The Fabled February 9, 1958 Concert" sounds fine in and of itself, yet the Schubert D. 958 sonata and Schumann Toccata boast more ambient bloom and clarity via BMC, making these hair-raising performances all the more more "fabled"! But don't expect sonic silk purses from sows' ears. The dry, constricted sound in several Mendelssohn Songs Without Words (1972) only make Richter's interpretations come off even more sober and charmless, while by contrast the attractive ambient resonance of a 1985 Debussy Preludes Book 1 group does complete justice to the music's nature and Richter's still-formidable tonal capabilities.

Yet while the 1954 items are anything but sonic paradigms, they are free of distortion and relatively easy on the ear. They include a pianistically exciting yet orchestrally hard-pressed Schumann concerto, Richter's earliest recorded performance of the Prokofiev Eighth sonata, and a spacious, hypnotically sustained Brahms E-flat minor Intermezzo (Op. 118 No. 6).

Richter's 1954 solo Bach ranges from slow and severe (the Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 F minor fugue) to vehemently pounded-out, at tempos that even the young Glenn Gould might have found optimistic (the Book 1 F major prelude, the C minor French suite's Gigue). Richter overshoots the opening Modere of Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales, but soon settles into more controlled, no less spirited music making, although in 1954 he still played Jeux d'eau too fast, as he did in 1960.

A number of items make a good case in regard to Richter's preference for live recordings over their studio counterparts. There's much to be said for the less formalized, more animated phrasing in the outer movements of Beethoven's Op. 22 (1963), Op. 2 No. 1 (1976), and Op. 10 No. 3 (1976) sonatas, and for the pulverizing drive of the Schubert Wanderer Fantasy's last section that arguably surpasses the same year's EMI studio recording.

The way-too-closely-miked 1965 Chopin Scherzi offer more extreme tempo fluctuations and surface excitement when heard alongside the relatively contained 1977 recordings. On the other hand a 1969 Rachmaninov Preludes selection adds up to little more than a footnote next to the earlier DG and later Ariola studio efforts. Although this release ultimately will attract more Richter specialists than general collectors, the care and integrity behind every aspect of BMC's production cannot be questioned, from the marvelous photos and Márta Papp's informative annotations to pianist Deszó Ránki's carefully-considered programming of this set's entire contents. In fact, I detected just one tiny error: the booklet notes list Richter's gorgeously layered performance of Chopin's Op. 70 No. 3 Waltz as Op. 70 No. 1.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com

CD 1 Richter in Hungary (1954)
Schumann: Piano concerto in A minor, op. 54
01. I. Allegro affettuoso
02. II. Intermezzo (Andantino grazioso)
03. III. Allegro vivace
04. Brahms: Intermezzo in A minor, op. 118/1
05. Brahms: Intermezzo in E-flat minor, op. 118/6
Academy of Music (Budapest, 8 March, 1954)

Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, Book I (selection)
06. Prelude in C minor
07. Fugue in C minor
08. Prelude in F major
09. Fugue in F major
10. Prelude in F minor
11. Fugue in F minor
12. Prelude in A major
13. Fugue in A major
14. Prelude in A minor
15. Fugue in A minor

Bach: French Suite in C minor, BWV 813
16. I. Allemande
17. II. Courante
18. III. Sarabande
19. IV. Air
20. V. Menuet I – II
21. VI. Gigue
Academy of Music (Budapest, 10 March, 1954)

CD 2 Richter in Hungary (1954)
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 8 in B-flat major, op. 84
01. I. Andante dolce – Allegro moderato – Andante dolce
02. II. Andante sognando
03. III. Finale (Vivace)
04. Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte
05. Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit No. 2 – Le gibet

Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales
06. I. Modéré très franc
07. II. Assez lent – avec une expression intense
08. III. Modéré
09. IV. Assez animé
10. V. Presque lent – dans un sentiment intime
11. VI. Vif
12. VII. Moins vif
13. VIII. Épilogue. Lent
14. Ravel: Jeux d’eau
15. Ravel: Alborada del gracioso
Academy of Music (Budapest, 26 March, 1954)

CD 3 Richter in Hungary (1958)
Schubert: Sonata in C minor, D. 958
01. I. Allegro
02. II. Adagio
03. III. Menuetto (Allegro)
04. IV. Allegro
05. 5. Schumann: Toccata, op. 7
Academy of Music (Budapest, 9 February, 1958)

06. Schubert: Moment musical in C major, D. 780/1

07. Liszt: Gnomenreigen

Liszt: Liebesträume
08. No. 2 in E major
09. No. 3 in A flat major

Liszt: Valses oubliées
10. No. 1
11. No. 2
12. No. 3
13. Liszt: Sonetto 123 del Petrarca
Academy of Music (Budapest, 11 February, 1958)

Debussy: Ariettes oubliées
14. No. 1 C’est l’extase langoureuse
15. No. 5 (Aquarelles I.) – Green
Bartók Hall (Budapest, 12 February, 1958)

CD 4 Richter in Hungary (1963)
Beethoven: Sonata in B-flat major, op. 22.
01. I. Allegro con brio
02. II. Adagio con molto espressione
03. III. Menuetto
04. IV. Rondo (Allegretto)

Schubert: Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946
05. 1. Allegro assai – Andante – Tempo I.
06. 2. Allegretto
07. 3. Allegro

Schubert: Wanderer fantasy in C major, D. 760
08. I. Allegro con fuoco ma non troppo
09. II. Adagio
10. III. Presto
11. IV. Allegro
Academy of Music (Budapest, 27 April, 1963)

CD 5 Richter in Hungary (1963)
Händel: Suite No. 5 in E major
01. I. Prelude
02. II. Allemande
03. III. Courante
04. IV. Air and Five Variations

Shostakovich: Six preludes and fugues, op. 87
Prelude and fugue No. 4 in E minor
05. Prelude: Andante
06. Fugue: Adagio
Prelude and fugue No. 12 in G-sharp minor
07. Prelude: Andante
08. Fugue: Allegro
Prelude and fugue No. 23 in F major
09. Prelude: Adagio
10. Fugue: Moderato con moto
Prelude and fugue No. 14 in E-flat minor
11. 11. Prelude: Adagio
12. Fugue: Allegro non troppo
Prelude and fugue No. 17 in A-flat major
13. Prelude: Allegretto
14. Fugue: Allegretto
Prelude and fugue No. 15 in D-flat major
15. Prelude: Allegretto
16. Fugue: Allegro molto

Prokofiev: Visions fugitives, op. 22
17. No. 3 Allegretto
18. No. 4 Animato
19. No. 5 Molto giocoso
20. No. 6 Con eleganza
21. No. 8 Commodo
22. No. 9 Allegretto tranquillo
23. No. 11 Con vivacità
24. No. 14 Feroce
25. No. 15 Inquieto
26. No. 18 Con una dolce lentezza
Erkel Theatre (Budapest, 29 April, 1963)

CD 6 Richter in Hungary (1965)
Mozart: Piano sonata in F major, K. 280
01. I. Allegro assai
02. II. Adagio
03. III. Presto

Beethoven: Piano sonata in A major, op. 101
04. I. Etwas lebhaft und mit der innigsten Empfindung
– Allegretto ma non troppo
05. II. Lebhaft. Marschmässig
- Vivace alla marcia
06. III. Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll
- Adagio, ma non troppo, con affetto
07. IV. Geschwinde, doch nicht zu sehr, und mit Entschlossenheit – Allegro

Chopin: Four scherzos
08. No. 1 in B minor, op. 20
09. No. 2 in B flat minor, op. 31
10. No. 3 in C sharp minor, op. 39
11. No. 4 in E major, op. 54
Erkel Theatre (Budapest, 17 July, 1965)

CD 7 Richter in Hungary (1967)
01. Schumann: Novellette in F major, op. 21/1
02. Schumann: Novellette in D major, op. 21/2
Erkel Theatre (Budapest, 27 August, 1967)

Haydn: Piano sonata in C major, Hob. XVI:35
03. I. Allegro con brio
04. II. Adagio
05. III. Finale. Allegro
06. Chopin: Rondo à la mazur

Debussy: Préludes for piano, Book II
07. I. Brouillards
08. II. Feuilles mortes
09. III. La puerta del Vino
10. IV. “Les fées sont d’exquises danseuses”
11. V. Bruyères
12. VI. “General Lavine” – excentric
13. VII. La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune
14. VIII. Ondine
15. IX. Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq.P.P.M.P.C.
16. X. Canope
17. XI. Les tierces alternées
18. XII. Feux d’artifice
Erkel Theatre (Budapest, 28 August, 1967)

CD 8 Richter in Hungary (1969)
01. Schubert: Thirteen Variations on a Theme by Anselm Hüttenbrenner, D. 576
Schumann: Fantasiestücke, op. 12 (selection)
02. No. 1 Des Abends – Sehr innig zu spielen
03. No. 2 Aufschwung – Sehr rasch
04. No. 3 Warum? – Langsam und zart
05. No. 5 In der Nacht – Mit Leidenschaft
06. No. 7 Traumes-Wirren – Äusserst lebhaft
07. No. 8 Ende vom Lied – Mit gutem Humor

Rachmaninov: Préludes (selection)
08. F-sharp minor, op. 23/1
09. A major, op. 32/9
10. B minor, op. 32/10
11. G-sharp minor, op. 32/12
12. A-flat major, op. 23/8
13. E major, op. 32/3
14. B-flat minor, op. 32/2
15. F minor, op. 32/6
16. F major, op. 32/7
17. B-flat major, op. 23/2
18. D major, op. 23/4
19. G minor, op. 23/5

20. Prokofiev: War and Peace – Waltz, op. 96/1
Academy of Music (Budapest, 18 November, 1969)

CD 9 Richter in Hungary (1973)
Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, Book II (selection)
01. Prelude in C major
02. Fugue in C major
03. Prelude in C minor
04. Fugue in C minor
05. Prelude in C-sharp major
06. Fugue in C-sharp major
07. Prelude in C-sharp minor
08. Fugue in C-sharp minor
09. Prelude in E-flat major
10. Fugue in E-flat major
11. Prelude in D-sharp minor
12. Fugue in D-sharp minor
Academy of Music (Budapest, 16 March, 1973)

13. Prelude in G major
14. Fugue in G major
15. Prelude in A-flat major
16. Fugue in A-flat major
17. Prelude in A major
18. Fugue in A major
19. Prelude in A minor
20. Fugue in A minor
21. Prelude in B major
22. Fugue in B major
23. Prelude in B-flat minor
24. Fugue in B-flat minor

Encores:
25. Prelude in B major
26. Prelude in B minor
27. Fugue in B minor
Academy of Music (Budapest, 18 March, 1973)

CD 10 Richter in Hungary (1972-78)
Mendelssohn: Lieder ohne Worte, op. 19
01. No. 1 Andante con moto
02. No. 2 Andante
03. No. 3 Molto allegro e vivace
04. No. 5 Moderato
05. No. 6 Andante sostenuto

06. Chopin: Nocturne in B-flat minor, op. 9/1

Debussy: Images, Book I
07. No. 1 Reflets dans l’eau
08. No. 2 Hommage à Rameau
09. No. 3 Mouvement
10. Debussy: Hommage à Haydn
Szeged (16 February, 1972)

Chopin: Two waltzes
11. F major, op. 34/3
12. G-flat major, op. 70/1

Chopin: Four mazurkas
13. C-sharp minor, op. 63/3
14. C major, op. 67/3
15. F major, op. 68/3
16. A minor, op. post.
Academy of Music (Budapest, 10 December, 1976)

Schubert: Piano sonata in A major, D. 664
17. I. Allegro moderato
18. II. Andante
19. III. Allegro
Academy of Music (Budapest, 10 August, 1978)

CD 11 Richter in Hungary (1976)
Beethoven: Sonata in F minor, op. 2/1
01. I. Allegro
02. II. Adagio
03. III. Menuetto (Allegretto)
04. IV. Prestissimo

Beethoven: Sonata in D major, op. 10/3
05. I. Presto
06. II. Largo e mesto
07. III. Menuetto (Allegro)
08. IV. Rondo (Allegro)

Beethoven: Sonata in E major, op. 14/1
09. I. Allegro
10. II. Allegretto
11. III. Rondo (Allegro commodo)

Beethoven: Sonata in A-flat major, op. 26
12. I. Andante con variazioni
13. II. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
14. III. Marcia funebre sulla morte d’un Eroe
15. IV. Allegro
Academy of Music (Budapest, 9 December, 1976)

CD 12 Richter in Hungary (1982-85)
01. Liszt: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (excerpt)
No. 9 Andante lagrimoso

02. Franck: Prélude, choral et fugue

Szymanowski: Mazurkas
03. op. 50/1
04. op. 50/17
05. op. 50/18
06. op. 50/3
Pesti Vigadó (Budapest, 11 September, 1982)

Debussy: Préludes, Book I (selection)
07. No. 1 Danseuses de Delphes
08. No. 2 Voiles
09. No. 3 Le vent dans la plaine
10. No. 4 “Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir”
11. No. 5 Les collines d’Anacapri
12. No. 6 Des pas sur la neige
13. No. 7 Ce qu’a a vu le Vent d’Ouest
14. No. 9 La sérénade interrompue
15. No. 10 La Cathédrale engloutie
16. No. 11 La danse de Puck
Opera House (Budapest, 14 January, 1985)

CD 13 Richter in Hungary (1983)
Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, op. 37/b (selection)
01. May: White Nights
02. June: Barcarolle
03. November: On the Troika
04. January: By the Hearth


Tchaikovsky: Piano pieces
05. Nocturne in F major, op. 10/1
06. Valse-scherzo in A major, op. 7
07. Humoresque in E minor, op. 10/2
08. Capriccioso in B-flat major, op. 19/5
09. Valse in A-flat major, op. 40/8
10. Romance in F minor, op. 5

Rachmaninov: Études-Tableaux (selection)
11. C-sharp minor, op. 33/9
12. D minor, op. 33/5
13. E-flat minor, op. 33/6
14. C minor, op. 39/1
15. A minor, op. 39/2
16. F-sharp minor, op. 39/3
17. B minor, op. 39/4
18. D major, op. 39/9
Academy of Music (Budapest, 3 August, 1983)

CD 14 Richter in Hungary (1993)
Grieg: Lyric pieces
01. Arietta, op. 12/1
02. Vals (Waltz), op. 12/2
03. Vektersang (Watchman’s Song), op. 12/3
04. Alfedans (Elves’ Dance), op. 12/4
05. Springdans (Spring Dance), op. 38/5
06. Kanon (Canon), op. 38/8
07. Sommerfugl (Butterfly), op. 43/1
08. Til Foråret (To the Spring), op. 43/6
09. Valse-Impromptu, op. 47/1
10. Gangar (Norwegian march), op. 54/2
11. Scherzo, op. 54/5
12. Klokkeklang (Bell ringing), op. 54/6
13. Hemmelighed (Secret), op. 57/4
14. Hun danser (She Dances), op. 57/5
15. Hjemve (Homesickness), op. 57/6
16. Drømmesyn (Phantom), op. 62/5
17. Bryllupsdag på Troldhaugen (Wedding day in Troldhaugen), op. 65/6
18. Aften på højfjellet (Evening in the Mountains), op. 68/4
19. Småtroll (Puck), op. 71/3
20. Skovstilhed (Peace in the Woods), op. 71/4
21. Forbi (Gone), op. 71/6
22. Efterklang (Remembrances), op. 71/7
Budapest Congress Center (9 November, 1993)

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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Conductor:  János Ferencsik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
2. Work(s) by Various
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)

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