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Sviatoslav Richter in the 1950's, Vol. 3

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 16, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

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Much of the repertoire here is new to Richter's ever-growing discography, notably 53 minutes worth of transcendent Liszt Années de Pelerinage excerpts, and a haunting Ravel Le Gibet. A live Beethoven Pathetique sonata proves more individual and arresting than Richter's excellent studio recording, as does this 1954 Weber 3rd Sonata to the better- recorded 1966 Philips version. Richter fans, however, will truly be floored by a whirling Ravel Alborado del gracioso and Rachmaninoff's Études- tableaux in E-flat, played better than humanly possible. Don't pass this set up! --Jed Distler

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Annees De Pelerinage: Vallee D'Obermann
  2. Annees De Pelerinage: Au Bord D'Un Source
  3. Annees De Pelerinage: La Sposalizio
  4. Annees De Pelerinage: Aux Cypres De La Villa D'este
  5. Annees De Pelerinage: Sonnetto 123 Del Petrarca
  6. Venezia E Napoll (II, Suppl. 1-3): Gondoliera
  7. Venezia E Napoll (II, Suppl. 1-3): Canzona
  8. Venezia E Napoll (II, Suppl. 1-3): Tarantella
  9. Son No.8 in c, Op.13: Allegro Molto E Con Brio
  10. Son No.8 in c, Op.13: Adagio Cantabile
  11. Son No.8 in c, Op.13: Rondo: Allegro

Disc: 2

  1. Son No.3 in d, Op.49: Allegro Feroce
  2. Son No.3 in d, Op.49: Andante Con Moto
  3. Son No.3 in d, Op.49: Rondo: Presto
  4. Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte
  5. Gaspard De La Nuit, No.2: Le Gibet
  6. Jeux D'Eau
  7. Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales
  8. Miroirs, No.4: Alborado Del Gracioso
  9. Etude Tableau in E flat, Op.33, No.6
  10. Prld in c, Op.23, No.7
  11. Prld in b flat, Op.32, No.2
  12. Gavotte From 'Cinderella' Op.95, No.2


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 16, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Parnassus
  • ASIN: B000006O34
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,776 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

What can I say? Two CDs-worth of previously unissued music from possibly the greatest pianist of the century at the height of his powers in some of his ideal repertoire AND IN EXCELLENT SOUND. Special higlights for me are the Liszt, especially "Vallee d'Obermann" and "Au bord d'un source", and above all "Le Gibet". Whew! I can't imagine a more haunting performance of this centerpiece of Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit" cycle. Why on earth didn't Richter record (or indeed play at all) the whole thing? He loved to tease us with the gaps in his repertoire, of course, but maybe even he couldn't see how to match the intensity he achieves in "Le Gibet" in the other two movements. What a loss....
As well as hurrying to buy this set, I also recommend that you consider a Richter disk on Praga which includes more Liszt and Ravel, including fascinating comparison performances of "Alborada del Gracioso" and "Valses nobles et sentimentales
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"I detest analysis, which kills fantasy and which is the enemy of art...Enough with musical blah-blah; music speaks for itself."

- Sviatoslav Richter

Sviatoslav Richter was the greatest pianist of the 20th century. This is of course quite an audacious comment to make, considering the very same 100 years saw the likes of Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Alfred Cortot, and a host of other towering musicians and virtuosi, but let us consider the grounds on which this statement is built; Sviatoslav Richter was a fusion of formidable technique, innate musical and structural conception, breath-taking sonority and tone; he was a magician, a direct link between instrument and composer, unrestrained and yet forcefully controlled by musical instinct; his repertoire encompassed everything from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier to the mysticism of late Scriabin, from Chopin to Hindemith, Von Weber to Prokofiev...in simpler words, Richter was the complete pianist, an astounding musician in the lineage of Liszt and Rubinstein.

Therfore it comes as little surprise that Richter will be cherished and remembered as one of the greatest Liszt interpreters who ever lived, and the historic recordings of excerpts from "Années du Pèlerinage" and "Venezia e Napoli" represented on this 2-CD set only reinforce his Lisztian stature - they are equal to his legendary performances of better-known masterpieces such as the Sonata in B minor, "Funérailles", and the "Transcendental Etudes", again blending awesome technical accomplishment with power and an aura of intense concentration typical of Richter...it is difficult to think of a better "Sposalizio", and the "Tarantelle" is flashy and colorful, conveyed in all of its Neapolitan splendor.
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I purchased this set more than a year ago and left it aside thinking I had bought it by mistake having the material on other cd...
Only to discover it a few days ago:I regret I had not listened to it before!!
Every item is superb,especially the 'jeux d'eau'(much slower than the Newark version),and the 'au bord d'une source'
The Weber sonata sounds even better than other version(thought the Praga version is superb too).The bass D yields a spectacular effect.
The Rachmaninov preludes offer the 'live' sound and a very musical Richter
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For anyone who wants to dip into Parnassus's five-volume "Richter in the 1950s" series, this volume is perhaps the best place to start. It shows the widest range of Richter's huge repertoire, highlighting his uncanny ability to change personality as he moves from Liszt to Beethoven to Ravel, among others. Richter was the most selfless of virtuosos. Unlike Horowitz, say, who sounds like Horowitz no matter what music he plays, Richter has a chameleon quality that's unique, rooted in a pure passion for music that left celebrity and fame outside the door.

With all that as a given, I wouldn't say all the items here are played with uniform brilliance. The Annees de Peleinage excerpts are very tempting, but they are in dull sound with a hint of wow in the piano tone; the audience is cough prone, and frankly, Richter sounds dolorous - in a mesmerizing way - in Vallee d"Obermann, the longest and most important piece -- too bad, since he never returned to it on disc. The Beethoven 'Pathetique' sonata is solid but not riveting: Richter could be much more original and daring in Beethoven. Still, the performance has many of his virtues otherwise.

Characteristically, Richter ignored the conventions of style in Ravel, Debussy, and Chopin, not always to the delight or even approval of critics. His Pavane for a Dead Princess is quite straightforward, with no attempt at Ravelian atmosphere and delicacy. Similarly, Le Gibet doesn't try to dazzle or hypnotize; it's rather sober. Richter's chief virtue here is how natural and yet dramatic he makes Ravel's idiom sound (very un-French).
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