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  • Schubert: Piano Sonatas Nos. 9, 11 & 13, d.575,625,664 / Moment Musical, d.780:1
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Schubert: Piano Sonatas Nos. 9, 11 & 13, d.575,625,664 / Moment Musical, d.780:1 Live

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Audio CD, Live, March 23, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Original BBC Legends pressing BBCL 4010-2

1. Piano Sonata In B Major, D575: I. Allegro ma non troppo
2. Piano Sonata In B Major, D575: II. Andante
3. Piano Sonata In B Major, D575: III. Scherzo, Allegretto
4. Piano Sonata In B Major, D575: IV. Allegro giusto
5. Piano Sonata In F Minor, D625: I. Allegro
6. Piano Sonata In F Minor, D625: II. Scherzo. Allegretto - Trio
7. Piano Sonata In F Minor, D625: II. Adagio (D505)
8. Piano Sonata In F Minor, D625: IV. Allegro
9. Piano Sonata In A Major, D664: I. Allegro moderato
10. Piano Sonata In A Major, D664: II. Andante
11. Piano Sonata In A Major, D664: III. Allegro
12. Moment Musical in C Major, D780 no.1: Moderato

Product Details

  • Performer: Sviatoslav Richter
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (March 23, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B00000I9WQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,967 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Melvyn M. Sobel on January 16, 2003
Recorded live---very!!--- by Richter in March, 1979, at the Royal Festival Hall in London, these are incredibly vibrant and rich performances of incredibly vibrant and rich Schubert piano sonatas. Richter is in rare form here, restraining his usual tempestuous virtuosity in lieu of the more deeply-nuanced substance abiding within every measure of this glorious music. This, of course, is not to say that Schubert's inner turmoil is subdued. No. Not at all. What predominates is Richter's masterly awareness of architecture and emotional content throughout--- and the delicate balance of each upon the other. Familiar as I am with all the Schubert sonatas, which I have loved in so many renditions by various artists, these Richter interpretations still surprise and delight and move me anew.

The B major, D. 575 retains a magnificent ebb and flow, its central Andante the lyrical gravitas; the F minor, with its forward-looking opening and ominous Allegro, its curious Scherzo, and even more curious Adagio, and its march-like, roiling finale is a wonder. But truly exceptional is the A major, D. 664 (Op. 120), which resonates a deeply-felt melancholy, especially poignant in the Andante, that is only mitigated by the third movement Allegro. This is pianism that defies criticism. The D. 780, No. 1 (fr. Moments Musicaux) is a fitting conclusion to the CD, offering quiet closure--- hushed and beautifully played.

A word of warning, though: As this is a live performance, the coughs, sneezes and general scuttling about is all too "live," as well, but luckily most apparent during movement breaks. Disruptive, however, are the bursts of applause after every sonata. When remastered, BBC producer Erik Horsman should have at least deleted these.
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Over a dozen reissue labels offer live concerts by Richter -- the number probably amounts to more than his official Western recordings by now -- but BBC Legends is probably in the lead for sonics. You don't have to worry that you will be getting a third-generation dub in woozy, boomy sound. The three Schubert sonatas and a Moment musical come from a single Royal Festival Hall concert in March, 1979. Here Richter competes with himself; he was on tour, and the concerts he gave with the same works in Japan are also available (the online Richter discography details which labels they appear on, beginning with the now defunct Olympia, in my experience).

Here the broadcast stereo sound is good, if a bit less than beautiful. The only major defect is that the microphone was placed too close, making Richter's familiar outbursts of forte and fortissimo clangy and hard on the ears. Audience sounds haven't been erased, but they are minimal for Londoners coming out of winter.

As you'd expect, these readings are very little different from those in Tokyo; even though Richter was a spontaneous performer, he often set an interpretation in place -- you can hear this in readings of the Hammerklavier Sonata done on tour in 1975 (on Praga, Olympia, and BBC Legends). There was also the factor that as he aged the pianist became more self-critical and at times cautious. He turned 64 the same month of this concert. In any case, the two early sonatas, no. 9 in B Major D. 575 and no. 11 in f minor D. 625, are given poised readings with few tempestuous outbursts and much pearly fingerwork. Fr me, Richter doesn't really wake up until he reaches the latter sonata, and for that reason, I don't think this recital is the best place to start for those coming fresh to his Schubert interpretations.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on December 12, 2006
Most of actual pianists have been unable to decipher the refined elegance and spirit purity about Schubert' s music and have decided by themselves to replace it by a hedonistic frivolity. That fact not only demerits the intrinsic qualities of his compositions, but reveals an absolute disregard about the relevance of Schubert in the music of the past Century.

If Beethoven reached a colossal peak respect the symphonic genre, Schubert opened a gate and showed us an universe of infinite possibilities where the piano not only expressed a different lexicon, but a true sort of sonorous horizons filled of febrile modernism anticipating himself to the postmodernism echoes of the late XIX.

Richter was one of the worthiest pianists in the History of music who knew to recreate and explore atmospheres through his untiring skillfulness, remarkable imagination, notable musicality, astonishing lyricism without affectation and devoted inspiration.

So, please don' t hesitate just a second at the moment to decide yourself about the interpretative merits of this renowned artists. You will listen unknown facets of the Schubertian language.
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It must have seemed bold of Richter, at age 64 in 1979 -- by which time he had achieved a near-mythical reputation -- to program three pretty early Schubert sonatas (1817-19 or so), none of which calls for the kind of virtuosity that would be required for Prokofiev or for the depth of expression that the late great Schubert sonatas would require. I wondered if I could listen to it all through, or whether I should just cut to the D.664, which I had heard in Ashkenazy's lovely account. Well, I started on track 1 -- and I had no urge thereafter to do anything but listen to the program through. There is nothing glitzy or odd in the interpretations. The pace might be a bit slower than some others, but the tempos of the movements always seem to make sense in relation to the tempos of the other movements, and there is absolutely no sense of drag: the playing is crisp and rhythmically alive, and the musical development seems to flow naturally, without one ever wondering about what interpretive stance the pianist might or might not be exemplifying. The word I want to use is "lucid" -- whether it is Richter's playing, or the BBC engineers' sonics, everything seems clear and unhurried, so that the music just seems to present itself to the listener. The engineers are to be credited with making sure that the limpid playing in the upper reaches of the keyboard never sounds dry and glassy. There's a moderate warmth to the tone, and no clouding of the line with over-pedaling.

Richter in his younger years was a pianist who worked to make Schubert's piano sonatas respectable for public performance -- they do not, after all, offer opportunities for virtuoso showing-off. By the time of this concert, his work had been successful, with Ashkenazy, Brendel, and others all having taken up the cause.
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