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Richter the Master, Vol. 6: Haydn/Beethoven/Weber - Piano Sonatas

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 14, 2007
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  • Richter the Master, Vol. 6: Haydn/Beethoven/Weber - Piano Sonatas
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  • Richter the Master, Vol. 1 - Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 19, 20, 22, 23, 30, 31 & 32,Opp.49/1,49/2,54,57,109-111
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Product Details

  • Composer: Haydn, Beethoven, Weber
  • Audio CD (August 14, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B000PY3030
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,063 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Yes, this not only looks like, but IS a straight reissue of Philips 438617, despite the fact that it says "DDD" (excuse me?!) and "Recordings made in in 1963 (CD 2 [1]-[7]) and 1993" on the back label. Someone probably meant to refer to some copyright, as first release would in fact not be true either. Most of the material on this double CD has appeared in one form or another before, although hardly (to my knowledge) in higher quality remasterings.

I love Richter's Haydn, and for the most part don't care if what he does with his sonatas is "correct" in view of period performance etc. I find his Haydn eternally interesting, and from a record collector's and/or music lover's point of view, I'm not sure there can be greater praise. What we have here first is a 39th Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 24 that I find discographically perplexing because the first movement is well-neigh identical to the one in the version issued by Olympia (reissued by Alto: Sonatas with Richter), that is purportedly from Freiburg, 6-8 March 1985 - one wonders if some of these "performances" have been pieced together! If I had to venture a guess, judging from timbre, soundstage, background noise etc., I'd say either could be a non-spliced live performance - but I wouldn't bet on it. To make matters more complicated, note that all known recordings of this sonata by Richter are from 1984/1985, and that includes the passionate live account once available on Praga (Prague, 4 March 1985), now unfortunately out of print. What we have here is a more internalised performance that inexorably grows in intensity.
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That Richter was a great Haydn player is borne out by his sonata performances scattered about on a variety of releases (see e.g. Pianist of the Century (Box); Richter in Spoleto; Richter Rediscovered; Richter plays Haydn, Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann, & Rachmaninov (BBC) among others). While the D major sonata, which opens this volume of Decca's "Richter the Master" series, is one that you don't hear very often the music itself isn't as interesting as Haydn's many other keyboard gems even though Richter seems to pull everything he can out of it. The E flat major sonata which follows, however, is a genuine masterpiece and Richter delivers a wonderful performance, filled with energy and imagination. The first cd is filled out by a reading of Weber's third piano sonata, which Richter seemed to favor (a recital performance on my shelf goes back to 1954: Sviatoslav Richter in the 1950's 3), and while he makes a convincing argument for it I still can't say that it's a particularly compelling piece of music.

A selection of four Beethoven sonatas make up the second disc. The first two, op. 14 no. 1 and op. 22, were recorded by Richter for Philips in 1963 along with op. 14 no. 2 and the two op. 49 sonatas.
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My absolute favorite Richter CD. I have many but this one, no matter how often I play it, still surprises me. You don't have to know who Richter is or be familiar with the works on this disc. Just sit back and listen and you'll be lifted into a beautiful and exciting world. I wish I'd had the chance to hear him play in a concert hall. He's an amazing interpreter of the classical period, a Master through and through. If you do know Richter you'll be delighted by this uplifting choice of pieces. I'd recommend this to anyone and everyone interested in GREAT music - not just classical. I played it for my teenage niece and wasn't sure what to expect. I just wanted her to get a taste of the classical world, to hopefully inspire her to reach beyond pop and rock (which I also enjoy - Sting, Jack Johnson - I love all types of music.)I was so happy when she said she liked it and wanted to hear more. My 3 year old son loves it also. He refers to it as Mommy Music when he wants to hear it. So like I said, this is a CD for everyone.
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