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Richter Rediscovered: Carnegie Hall Recital 1960

Limited Edition

Audio CD | Remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Limited Edition, Original recording remastered, September 25, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

RCA Victor's Richter Rediscovered lets us hear Sviatoslav Richter perform with intensity and purpose he rarely matched and still more rarely surpassed. This two-CD set comprises Richter's entire Dec. 26, 1960, Carnegie Hall recital and several encores from the same program two days later in Newark's Mosque Theater. Most transcripts of Richter's live performances miss details in his playing--the prismatic shimmer of his tone in all registers, for example, or the way he could instantaneously jump from triple pianissimo to triple fortissimo. But RCA's superb recorded sound does justice to the pianist's variety of nuance and range of dynamics. Younger listeners will now hear Richter "live" the way we older ones remember him: performing Haydn's Sonata No. 50 in C with lapidarian perfection as well as with freedom of rhythm and expression; diversifying, without diluting, the savagery of Prokofiev's Sonata No. 6 by employing softer colors than those usually heard; playing Rachmaninov's Prelude in A with gigantic chords made more all the more impressive by the subtle emergence of the delicate melody from within them; and endowing Chopin's Étude in A flat (Op. 10, No. 10) with breathtaking poetry through ingenious variations of touch and rhythm. --Stephen Wigler


Richter was generally miserable on his American début tour between October 1960 and January 1961, frankly admitting that he played badly in his first Carnegie Hall recital and refusing to sanction the issue of recordings (some did nevertheless briefly appear on LP). But according to RCA's introductory note, he did approve the stereo recordings of two extra concerts scheduled to cope with the extraordinary demand for tickets. The first of these, again at Carnegie Hall, forms the basis of the present two CDs, most of its material being previously unreleased; the second, at Newark's Mosque Theatre two days later, did come out on LP, minus the encores which are here included as a fill-up.The piano is extremely close-miked throughout, virtually eliminating ambience. We could almost be listening to a domestic recital on a baby grand in a carpeted living-room, and it is impossible to get a true impression of Richter's sound in the hall. Yet this does allow for every tiniest subtlety of attack and colour to register. Audience noise is minimal, and applause is included in truncated form. Richter's interpretations are for the most part familiar from his already compendious discography. His Haydn is satisfyingly or maddeningly severe according to taste, and there are passages where he seems to be falling back on tried-and-tested routines. But the slow movement has moments of pure genius, with a hypnotically sustained line in the lead-back to the opening theme; and behind the poker-faced exterior of the finale it is clear that he is not deaf to Haydn's humour but has merely chosen not to make the already obvious even more so.Chopin's Fourth Scherzo takes wing in flurries of quick-fire passagework, contrasted with aristocratic roundness of tone in the lyrical interludes – a performance strong on fantasy. In the Third Ballade I think Harris Goldsmith is right to hear Rachmaninov's famous interpretation behind Richter's sudden spurts; yet what a fabulous sense of overall logic embraces these flights of fancy. His Rachmaninov Preludes again showcase his wonderful singing tone. The B minor is tonally seductive, yet fiercely determined in the central section, and the G sharp minor is irresistibly evocative of water running down the window-panes of a secluded dacha.Richter's notoriously impatient dash through Jeux d'eau is the kind of thing that earned Harold Schonberg's strictures on what he and other Soviet musicians at the time had to learn from contact with the West. (Schonberg's essay, printed in the RCA booklet, is a more subtle piece of journalism than any short summary could suggest.) But 'La vallée des cloches' is wonderfully sultry and evocative, as well as pin-point precise.The second disc is simply riveting. A Prokofiev Sixth Sonata flung in the face of anyone who would accuse its composer of superficiality (and there were many such opinions flying round at the time) is followed by pairs of Visions fugitives, tossed as tantalizing morsels to an insatiable audience, as are the Newark encores from two days later. It would be astonishing if any of these performances were to surpass the many Richter alternatives currently available; but they do represent him at close to his phenomenal best, and to be able to share in such historic occasions makes this new issue especially treasurable. David Fanning -- From International Record Review - subscribe now

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Applause for Sviatoslav Richter - Audience
  2. I. Allegro
  3. II. Adagio
  4. III. Allegro molto
  5. Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, Op. 54
  6. Ballade No. 3 in A-Flat Major, Op. 47
  7. Prelude in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 23, No. 1
  8. Prelude in A Major, Op. 32, No. 9
  9. Prelude in B Minor, Op. 32, No. 10
  10. Prelude in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12
  11. Jeux d'eau
  12. La Vallée des cloches

Disc: 2

  1. Applause for Sviatoslav Richter - Audience
  2. I. Allegro moderato
  3. II. Allegretto
  4. III. Tempo di valzer lentissimo
  5. IV. Vivace
  6. No. 3 - Allegretto
  7. No. 4 - Animato
  8. No. 5 - Molto giocoso
  9. No. 6 - Con eleganza
  10. No. 8 - Commodo
  11. No. 9 - Allegretto tranquillo
  12. No. 11 - Con vivicità
  13. No. 14 - Feroce
  14. No. 15 - Inquieto
  15. No. 18 - Con una dolce lentezza
  16. Applause for Sviatoslav Richter - Audience
  17. No. 2 - Gavotte
  18. No. 4 - Animato
  19. No. 5 - Les collines d'Anacapri
  20. Étude Op. 10 No. 10 in A-Flat
  21. Étude Op. 10 No. 12 in C Minor, "Revolutionary"
  22. Mazurka Op. 24 No. 2 in C

Product details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2001)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005OLD9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,353 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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