Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

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gperkins151
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Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:09 pm

As promised, I am posting my survey of Richter's commercial releases of performances of Schubert Piano Sonatas.
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D 566

1964 Aldeburgh - Living Stage
1978 Moscow - Brilliant
1978 Munich - Victor/Japan

The timings here were almost identical, but the sound varied greatly. In this respect the Brilliant Classics version was clearly superior.

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Richter's full tone was captured wonderfully, revealing the pianists dark, mysterious reading. Only the end of the second movement, when the sound bounced back and forth from left to right channel was there any problems with the sound. The finale radiated light and serenity.
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D 575

Moscow 1965, Brilliant
Florence 1966, Philips/Decca
Aldeburgh 1966, Living Stage
Tokyo, 1979, Regis
London, 1979, BBC

The winner is the Florence 1966 Philips performance (also found on the recently remastered Master series but in slightly better sound in the earlier OOP edition):

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All five versions were similarly paced (and performed for that matter), but this one had by far the best sound and was the most lively. That makes a perfect three for three on the Richter Master Schubert series (along with the above OOP Philips Set), as all three sonatas contained are the best versions of those works by the pianist IMO. This is the Schubert Decca set from the Master series:

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D 625

Munich 23 July 1978 (Victor) – Of the three officially released performances of this sonata, all of which were recorded live and within a 8 month span, this one stands out for me as being my favorite. The other two, Tokyo 1979 on Regis and London 1979 on BBC Legends, are interpretatively similar to the Munich. However, the Tokyo suffers from what appears to be excessive noise reduction, as the piano tone has a displeasing, muffled quality to it. The London recording does not have this problem, but the audience noises are heard loudly throughout the performance, plus the overall sound is thin. The Munich, on the other hand, is a well-engineered recording of a live performance that only occasionally reveals that it was recorded in front of an audience. Richter is in top form as well, turning in one of his classic Schubert performances. He seems to cover the full range of human emotion in this performance, at times dark, at others sunny, delicate at one moment, crushing in the next. He uses the Adagio from D 505 as the third movement and this works well at providing a brief respite from the tension of the work. He also chooses to play the outer movements as written, in their unfinished state. The finale begins rapidly and urgently, a stark contrast to the movement that preceded it. Richter’s dynamic contrasts here are immense, building tension in an exciting reading until finally ending gently. This performance is well worth seeking out. Unfortunately it is not easy to find. It was released on CD, Victor VICC-60076, in Japan.
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D 664

Paris 11-13, 16, 17 February and 11 April 1963 (EMI)
– Of the four available released versions that Richter released of this sonata, this is the only studio version. It is also the best one, as it captures Richter’s tone beautifully in a superb performance. The first movement is played with grace and a refinement usually reserved for later Richter performances. Everything is in place, no harsh outbursts or steely tone. This is the type of Schubert playing that led me to become an avid admirer of Richter’s Schubert performances. The second movement is played gently and serenely. The finale opens with a breath of fresh air, with a Mozartian playfulness and energetic style. A witty rondo, Richter plays this well, emphasizing the differences found in the contrasting episodes. This performance can be found in the recently released 14 CD EMI box that compiles all of Richter’s EMI recordings.

Live performances – Munich 23 July 1978, Tokyo 1 February 1979, London 31 March 1979 – These three are all of very similar conception, something that they have in common with his earlier studio version for EMI. The timings for all four are very close, without any significant variance. The only real difference between them is the sound quality. The Tokyo recording has a slightly muffled tone, but was recorded with well-placed microphones, as it captured well the dynamic range and tone of Richter’s playing. This is best of the three live recordings and also the least expensive. The London had better tone, but more tape noise and more audience noise. The Munich had the worst sound, with distantly placed microphones that did not capture Richter’s sound as well and also highlighted the audience noise. The performance of all three is excellent, but the EMI did a better job of conveying the sound of the piano and the performance and therefore remains my recommendation of this work by this pianist.
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D 784

Tokyo 7 February 1979 (Regis) – This recording is one of two live performances available by the pianist. The other, recorded in London, would come 7 weeks later. The Regis reissue that I have sounds excellent, with a full, yet slightly veiled piano tone that benefited from a bit of added treble on my stereo. Richter played the first movement in a dramatic style, with sharp dynamic contrasts, bold crescendos and mysteriously beautiful quiet passages. Audience noise was not an obstacle to my enjoyment. In fact, I barely noticed them. The central movement was played with a reflective tenderness that acted as a perfect contrast to the first movement’s tension. The finale brought a sense of playfulness and joy to the performance. This is one of those memorable, extra special Schubert Richter performances.

London 31 March 1979 (BBC) – Compared to its Tokyo counterpart, this live performance was more distantly miked. This allowed for more dynamic headroom for the fortes and crescendos, but is also made them less immediate as well. The effect was like sitting in the back of the hall on this recording. The sound was less filtered than the Tokyo, meaning more overall hiss, but clearer piano tone as well. The conception of the work was very similar, as one would expect. His timings for each movement were very similar. As the first movement went on, I missed the impact of the closer Regis recording and thus didn’t enjoy this version as much. This aspect adversely affected the next two movements as well. The playing sounded fine, but those attacks that were so effective in the Tokyo recording were dulled here.
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D 840

Paris 19-20 October 1961 (Monitor) – This recording, the earliest of two that Richter made of this work, was made in a studio in Paris. The sound is better than I expected, with enough hiss to ensure that the tapes were not remastered or filtered. Unfortunately the miking was set up too close, as some of the forte chords distort, but this does not present a problem for most of the performance. The first movement begins gently, in a tranquil mood. Richter’s conception of this work is clear and presented as such. The second movement improves on this, Richter’s tone is gorgeous and his playing amongst the best of his Schubert recordings. He chooses, as he does with his later live recording, to include the two incomplete movements. The third movement did not come off too well for me, I am not sure if this is the fault of the composer or the pianist. The finale was much better, with an extremely catchy rhythm. Richter’s intensity builds until the final incomplete measures, where he just stops. I found this effect to be quite sad, though I am grateful that he decided to record the two incomplete movements.

Salzburg 27 November 1979 – Moving from the studio to a live venue 18 years later, Richter shows a clear difference, not to mention improvement, in approach. Here he benefits from more distant miking that is capable of capturing his immense dynamic range and fairly modern recorded sound. His tempo is slower than his previous recording in the first movement, in fact over 3 minutes slower, something that results in progress from his beautiful 1961 recording to this gorgeously sublime one. In fact, I barely wrote any notes for this movement, for his playing was spellbinding and his tone was delicious, captured wonderfully by the engineers. Luckily, the audience was barely noticeable and was likely as captivated as I was. The second movement is played at a very similar tempo to the 1961 performance, but here Richter’s playing is again more special, perhaps a result of the 18 years of experience that separates them. By turns he is tender, playful, fierce and joyful, Richter is impressive to listen to here. In the third movement, he speeds things up by a full minute and a half compared to his 1961 recording, though it does not sound rushed at all. The movement comes off much better in fact, sounding more musical and less repetitive than before. The finale might sound a bit less technically secure than the 1961 performance, but at this point I might be splitting hairs. Overall, a superb performance and my recommendation for the best version of this sonata as played by Richter. It is currently available in the Master Series on Decca.
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D 845
(there is only one commercially released performance of this work by the pianist)

Moscow 2 March 1957 (Living Stage) – I also have this performance on Urania (marked incorrectly as D 850 on the artwork and CD) but the Living Stage has slightly better sound, so I used that one for this review. As with the D 850, the D 845 finds Richter in an austere, even harsh mood. This is not helped by the dry, cold sound evoked by the recording. Close miking only serves to intensify the harshness of forte passages, though it does help to capture all of the quiet moments well in this work. These quiet moments had a great mystery to them and provided a nice contrast to the more extrovert passages. Richter seemed to play better as he went on in this work, the second movement was so much more playful and lighter in mood that one would swear another pianist had stepped in. The finale was particularly fine, saving an otherwise marginal performance. Though I am sure that this is not the greatest recording ever made of this sonata, I do find it to be recommendable.
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D 850

Prague 14 June 1956 (Praga)
– I also have this performance on Music and Arts, but the high frequencies are less filtered on this CD, so I used it for this review. From the opening chord on, it is impossible to forget that this is early Richter. The percussive tone, the relentless tension and forward momentum all are characteristic of his early performances and this one is no exception. At times the drive was too much and I longed for a bit more relaxed approach. Also, many of the forte chords just sound too loud. The second movement slows things down, but not in the sublime way many of his other Schubert recordings slow things down. His playing is tender and expressive, but certainly not nearly as profound his later recordings of other sonatas would later become. The harsh forte chords unfortunately return as well, this time sounding even more out of place. Third movement brings us back to the tension and drive of the first movement, with a delightfully played playful second subject that provided some balance to the much louder, more boisterous first one. However, the slow central section revealed the poor health of Richter’s piano and failed to move me in any way. Thankfully, Richter plays the finale well, beginning with a charming, light, playful style. However, overall this performance does not rate highly with me. I sincerely wish that he had recorded this sonata in the 1960s or 1970s, for I think his playing style from that time would have been better suited for this sonata.

Moscow 11 August 1956 (Living Stage) – Sounding a bit more rushed and sloppy than the Prague performance, in worse sound, the first movement here was a disappointment. Since this is the only other available performance of this sonata by the pianist, I was hoping for more. Unfortunately, recorded only two months later than the Prague, it was more of the same, at least in the first movement. Like the Prague, the second movement also revealed issues with the tape/piano. The playing was somewhat better, being more coherent, but still not exactly tender or profound either. Unfortunately, the sound becomes really distorted on the forte chords here and in the next movement, making a subpar interpretation sound worse. The same issue plagues the finale. Overall I prefer the Prague performance for it’s less rushed and better played first movement and its better sound.
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D 894


Moscow 3 May 1978 (Brilliant Classics) – This was my first encounter with Richter’s Schubert and it won me over the first time I heard it. You might say I imprinted on it. The depth of performance is impressive, with a first movement that is epic in the hands of the pianist. Unfortunately, it was recorded under less than ideal conditions, using what sounds like fairly close microphones in a very reverberant hall. The reverb enhances the performances throughout much of the slow movement, adding a mysterious quality to an already ominous performance. However, as the sonata moves on, this effect begins to blur the images as the notes get closer together. There are some splendid moments, especially the sunlight evoked by the start of the second movement. The playing could have been more refined however, and the close recording limited the dynamic range of the sound, thus limiting the dramatic effect of the dynamic shifts. All in all, a very good performance that was unfortunately not helped by the conditions under which it was recorded.

London 20 March 1989 (Philips) - The recorded sound here is spectacular, microphones were placed far enough away to capture the full dynamic range of Richter’s performance. Thankfully, the audience is well behaved as well. Richter’s playing here is beyond words, so I won’t say very much. The first movement is played like a gentle dream punctuated by nightmarish episodes that startled me, but in a good way. The second and third movements continue in this fashion, Richter plays a heartfelt performance with great focus and if the occasional outbursts are a bit loud, it only adds to the epic nature of his interpretation. The finale is a delight, played in a beautiful, aristocratic style. The understated ending is soft, yet powerful. I found out today that this was the pianist’s favorite Schubert sonata and by the way he plays it, I am not surprised. This is truly incredible performance and one that I will revisit and treasure for years to come.
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D 958

Salzburg 1972 (Regis) – Overall a wonderfully subtle and introverted performance. The piano sound is rich and full, requiring only a bit of treble boost to sound great. Richter’s playing is confident and expressive without sounding harsh. He turns in a typically focused performance. The first movement and especially the second has a number of beautifully tranquil passages that are conveyed well by the pianist. A palpable tension is present throughout, but is only hinted at, except for a few explosive moments. The slow movement is mysterious, tender and stern. These contrasting elements work wonderfully in Richter’s hands. The third movement is pleasant, but the rhythms sound a bit limp. Richter plays again with great subtlety and authority in the finale. Rather than try to set speed records, he impresses with his ability to sustain the drama of the music by varying the intensity of his playing. As with the early movements, the tension bubbles below the surface, occasionally appearing at key moments, only to submerge again. I don’t think this is the best that the pianist has played this work, but it is the best one that I have heard.

Budapest 1958 (Living Stage, M&A) – If Salzburg was the introverted Richter, then Budapest is surely the extrovert side of the pianist. From the opening measures, it is clear that Richter saw this work at the time as being urgent, more like Beethoven than Schubert. The first movement is played in an incredibly raw fashion, with phrases tumbling into the next with more concern for drama and power than beauty. The cold but fully audible sound tended to underline this point. I chose the Living Stage release for this performance, as it is a clearer transfer, with less filtering. In the second movement, things slow down nicely and the tranquil mood provides a nice contrast to the first movement. However, the audience noise and recording noise spoiled this mood for me. The third movement had a lovely dance feel, with rhythms much more taut than the later Salzburg recording. Richter’s rhythms in the finale absolutely amaze. The drama that is created by his technical wizardry here is infectious. Overall, while I certainly recommend this recording, I prefer it’s Salzburg counterpart, for I prefer my Schubert to be played with more subtlety.
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D 960

(All are live except the Salzburg)

1. Moscow 1957 on Parnassus
2. Moscow 1961 on Brilliant Classics
3. Aldeburgh 1964 on Living Stage
4. Salzburg 1972 on Regis (studio recordiing)
5. Prague 1972 on Praga

The first thing I did was listen to the first minute of each one to get a sense of the sound. Except for the Praga, they have all been noticeably filtered, thus blemishing Richter's tone. Since in Richter's hands, this work relies so much on beauty of tone, especially in the first two movements, I listened to the Praga first. The first movement was indredibly moving, Richter's tone sounded beautiful. The first crescendo surprised me, swelling to an expressively loud climax, sending shivers down my spine. Richter's playing throughout was focused and captivating. His second movement conveyed a beautifully calm and serene mood. The concluding two movements provided a perfect balance to what had come before. The intensity of the finale was particularly impressive, even if the occasional outbursts seemed somewhat out of place. All in all, this was a rich and rewarding experience.

I then compared the Praga to the three other live versions that I have. The 1964 Living Stage Aldeburgh performance was good, but the aforementioned filtering issues, coupled with the intrusive audience noise limited my enjoyment of it. The piano was better recorded on Brilliant, 1961 Moscow, but again the audience noise intruded. The playing of Richter seemed less focused as well. The second movement improves on this a bit and the concluding two movements bring an extra does of excitement. In all, a good performance but not as good as the Praga. Finally I listened to the earliest version I have, the 1957 Moscow on Parnassus. This one actually had the most filtering of any of these, something I found disappointing because the interpretation was a bit different than the others. The first movement was played two and a half minutes slower than the Prague performance and was focused and straightforward, but also less moving. The filtered sound really hampers the slow movement, with the piano sounding as if it were recorded down the hall from the listening position. The third movement was swift, but also muddy. Overall, just not a great recording.

Then I compared my only studio version, Salzburg 1972 on Regis, of this work by the pianist to my front runner, the Prague 1972. Recorded only as month or two apart, I thought this would prove to be an interesting comparison. The Salzburg had the benefit of almost no noise on the recording (certainly no audience noise here), though the reverberant hall was not the best choice of venue. The performance of the first two movements was good, but lacked some of the poetic qualities I enjoyed in the Prague. The finale also did not have that live performance energy and suffered because of it. Moreover, the reverberant sound often muddied up the imaging, making Richter's playing less clear. Still, it was my overall second choice, with the Prague being the clear winner.
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To recap, my favorites are as follows:

D 960 Prague - 1972 - Praga
D 958 Salzburg - 1972 - Regis
D 894 London - 1989 - Philips/Decca (Philips has slightly better sound)
D 850 Prague - 1956 - Praga (better sound than Music and Arts)
D 845 Moscow - 1957 - Living Stage (better sound than Urania)
D 840 Salzburg - 1979 - Philips/Decca (Philips has slightly better sound)
D 784 Tokyo - 1979 - Regis
D 664 Paris - 1963 - EMI
D 625 Munich - 1978 - Victor/Japan
D 575 Florence - 1966 - Philips/Decca (Philips has slightly better sound)
D 566 Moscow - 1978 - Brilliant Classics
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:28 pm

That's more than impressive, very well done... :D
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Lance » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:33 pm

George, that's a stunning job. I thought I previously sent this out but I previewed it and forgot to hit the submit button. This is happening a lot to me of late. In the meantime, your comments about the individual recordings provides a good study and interesting reading. Thank you for sharing your obvious knowledgable views on Richter's Schubert. If you were going to traverse another composer, who might it be? (Haydn, maybe ... Bach, Beethoven?)
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:48 pm

Lance wrote:George, that's a stunning job. I thought I previously sent this out but I previewed it and forgot to hit the submit button. This is happening a lot to me of late. In the meantime, your comments about the individual recordings provides a good study and interesting reading. Thank you for sharing your obvious knowledgable views on Richter's Schubert. If you were going to traverse another composer, who might it be? (Haydn, maybe ... Bach, Beethoven?)
Or, perhaps Chopin...there's lots of Chopin... :wink:
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:18 am

Lance wrote:George, that's a stunning job. I thought I previously sent this out but I previewed it and forgot to hit the submit button. This is happening a lot to me of late. In the meantime, your comments about the individual recordings provides a good study and interesting reading. Thank you for sharing your obvious knowledgable views on Richter's Schubert. If you were going to traverse another composer, who might it be? (Haydn, maybe ... Bach, Beethoven?)
Probably Beethoven. Next would probably be Rachmaninov.
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by stenka razin » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:42 am

George, what a splendid job, mate. Thank you so much. May I request a Prokofiev/Richter survey next? 8)
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:38 am

stenka razin wrote:George, what a splendid job, mate. Thank you so much. May I request a Prokofiev/Richter survey next? 8)
Sure, just buy me the CDs and I'll be glad to do one. :mrgreen:
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by stenka razin » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:25 pm

gperkins151 wrote:
stenka razin wrote:George, what a splendid job, mate. Thank you so much. May I request a Prokofiev/Richter survey next? 8)
Sure, just buy me the CDs and I'll be glad to do one. :mrgreen:

Sorry, mate, I thought you had them all......... :mrgreen:
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:41 pm

stenka razin wrote:
gperkins151 wrote:
stenka razin wrote:George, what a splendid job, mate. Thank you so much. May I request a Prokofiev/Richter survey next? 8)
Sure, just buy me the CDs and I'll be glad to do one. :mrgreen:

Sorry, mate, I thought you had them all......... :mrgreen:
I do enjoy his Prokofiev, but I haven't ventured to get all of his performances.
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Lance » Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:01 pm

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Regarding Richter's Schubert sonatas, two more just came in for me. I am wondering if you, George, were going to acquire these:

•Sonata #9 in B Major, D575 (Live, NYC, April 15, 1965)
•Sonata #3 in E Major, D459 (live, Hohenems, June 18, 1980) [This is Richter's only known recording of this sonata]

Both are available in Doremi's “Sviatoslav Richter Archives” as Volume 15 in the series. It's a two-disc set [7940/1], which includes the complete Carnegie Hall recital of April 15, 1965, including Chopin's Four Scherzi (which also appeared earlier in Volume 2 of Doremi's Richter series) but the present recording is in much finer sound. Outside of the Scherzi, the Carnegie Hall material is the first-ever issued of this NYC recital.
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:57 pm

Yes, Lance I do have that one. I think I got it after my survey and that's why it doesn't appear in there. Here's my review of the set as a whole:

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SCHUBERT: Sonata No.9 in B, D.575 First release ever.
BRAHMS: Ballades Op.10/1,2; Piano Pieces, Op.118/1,3,6 First release ever.
CHOPIN: 4 Scherzos: Op.20, Op.31, Op.39, Op.54 (only released before on Doremi)
RAVEL: Oiseaux triste from Miroirs First release ever.
RACHMANINOFF: Prelude, Op.32/12; Etude Tableau, Op.39/3,9 First release ever
All performances listed above from an audience recording from Carnegie Hall, New York, April 15, 1965

SCHUBERT: Sonata No.3 in E, D.459 First release ever. The only version by Richter known to be recorded. From a Live Performance, Hohenems, June 18, 1980
SCHUBERT: Two Impromptus, D.899/3,4 First release ever. (Trovar lists no other performance of No. 3) From a Live Performance, Budapest, August 27, 1967
SCHUBERT: Moment Musical No.1 in C, D.780/1 First release ever. From a Live Performance, Budapest, February 11, 1958
SCHUBERT: March in E, D.606 First release ever. The only version by Richter known to be recorded. From a Live Performance, Moscow, May 3, 1978


Disc one begins with a Schubert sonata that has not been previously released by the pianist, the D 459. That was the main reason I bought this set, it contains a few unique Schubert works that had previously unreleased in any performance by the pianist. The sound was unfortunately a letdown immediately, as the high frequencies are drastically cut. Some of this can be remedied with the treble control, but IMO this is a shame and since the rest of the disc does not suffer this problem, it's puzzling why this one does. The performance was enjoyable, but this isn't one of those monumental Richter interpretations that Richerphiles dream of. Richter sounds younger, more playful than he usually is in Schubert. It is fitting here and he turns in a good performance.

Then we move to the audience recorded Carnegie Hall recital, recorded 15 years prior. Richter's powerful, urgent style is here in spades and so is the upper frequencies in another Schubert sonata performance. The audience recorded sound limits the bass response and the fortes are harsh, but all notes played are clearly audible. Richter's tone shines in many sections, though the health of the audience was terrible, with coughing almost a constant issue throughout.

We then move to the 4 Chopin Scherzos from the same venue, which had been previously released on Doremi, but were included here because a better recording was found of the performance. Richter is electrifying in the fast sections of the Scherzos, with an urgency and forward momentum that I have never heard in these works before. The slower, quieter sections are tender and beautiful. The Ravel that follows is a great complement, with a quiet, mysterious dark mood that is conveyed masterfully. The Rachmaninoff works are good, but surely not his best. Not the wisest was to end this concert.

Then comes some extra performances from different places, beginning with an absolutely stunning G flat Impromptu by Schubert. Trovar does not list any released performances by the pianist of this work, making this one that much more special. Played a bit slower than I have heard it played by anyone, this one (together with the Scherzos) made buying this set worthwhile. The A flat Impromptu by the same composer that follows was good, but certainly not in the same league as the G flat, nor was the Moment Musical or the March in E, which had not been released before by the pianist.

So this one is a mixed bag, as you may have gathered already. For the Scherzos and the G flat Impromptu, this would be a no brainer for any Richterphile, but the price is pretty steep. As I have said, the overall sound is fair at best, so all things considered, I'd say that this set is for the most devoted fans of the pianist only, a group that is not small in number and probably doesn't need my urging anyway.
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Lance » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:59 pm

By Jove, George, you amaze me. You do have it! Congrats, and thank you, too, for another fine analysis.
gperkins151 wrote:Yes, Lance I do have that one. I think I got it after my survey and that's why it doesn't appear in there. Here's my review of the set as a whole: {snipped}

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Bösendorfer » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:59 pm

Thanks a lot for these great reviews, George! I have the Richter the Master volume and I like it a lot. I think it's time to get the 664/784 coupling on Alto that Chalkie pointed out (according to trovar these are from Tokyo 1979).

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by MJWal » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:58 am

You make rather similar remarks for all 4 of Richter's Tokyo Schubert sonata recordings, George, finding the sound muffled or veiled - I cannot hear this. It is the typical digital Yamaha sound, not very warm but tonally clear right down to the bass. This is either owing to a) my aging ears - but I have other CDs that do sound muffled to me b) the Eurodisc/Melodiya pressings I have (D. 575 & 625 on a well-preserved LP, the other 2 on a CD). Might the people at Regis have mistakenly applied some No-Noise technology to what are clear digital recordings in origin? Again, my Melodiya/Eurodisc/BMG pressing of D. 960 sounds reasonably clear to my ears; though I can hear quite a bit of hall reverb, "muddied" seems too extreme, and the power of the performance is not affected. However, I do not unfortunately know the Praga, which might alter my perception if the sound is so much better.
You have provided us with an excellent overview of Richter's Schubert sonatas. I wonder why he never performed D.959 publicly? There are great recordings by such as Schnabel, Erdmann (my favourite), Serkin and Lupu, but I do miss hearing what Richter could have made of it. It is one of the biggest "might-have-beens" on my list.

gperkins151
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:21 am

MJWal wrote:You make rather similar remarks for all 4 of Richter's Tokyo Schubert sonata recordings, George, finding the sound muffled or veiled - I cannot hear this.
It's subtle. My speakers have a way of highlighting problems like this, unfortunately.
You have provided us with an excellent overview of Richter's Schubert sonatas. I wonder why he never performed D.959 publicly? There are great recordings by such as Schnabel, Erdmann (my favourite), Serkin and Lupu, but I do miss hearing what Richter could have made of it. It is one of the biggest "might-have-beens" on my list.
I agree. I have grown to love Sokolov in D. 959 and I wish he would release a performance of this work commercially.
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Holden Fourth » Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:23 am

I have the Olympia Tokyo D664/D784 and am also quite happy with the clarity of the sound. I purchased this way back in 1991 and it was my introduction to Richter the pianist. I've been in love with him as a musician ever since.

gperkins151
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:40 am

Holden Fourth wrote:I have the Olympia Tokyo D664/D784 and am also quite happy with the clarity of the sound. I purchased this way back in 1991 and it was my introduction to Richter the pianist. I've been in love with him as a musician ever since.
Hi Holden,

I compared the original Olympia Rachmaninov Richter CD to it's Regis counterpart and found the former to have slightly better sound, likely due to pressing differences. Still, they are very close in sound.
George

gperkins151
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Tue May 06, 2014 9:23 pm

Image

This just arrived!!

From Presto Classical, 4CD set on sale for $28.60

It has the usual flimsy Melodiya outer box, but the booklet is nice and the individual sleeves are cool. The sound seems fine and I definitely hear some tape hiss. Now enjoying CD 1, which has D. 566, 625 and 664. Even my girlfriend is whistling along.
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by jbuck919 » Wed May 07, 2014 4:12 am

gperkins151 wrote:Image

This just arrived!!

From Presto Classical, 4CD set on sale for $28.60

It has the usual flimsy Melodiya outer box, but the booklet is nice and the individual sleeves are cool. The sound seems fine and I definitely hear some tape hiss. Now enjoying CD 1, which has D. 566, 625 and 664. Even my girlfriend is whistling along.
I think you may have just set a record for a follow-up post. Four years, good gosh. (Thanks nevertheless.)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by SONNET CLV » Wed May 07, 2014 10:45 pm

gperkins151 wrote:As promised, I am posting my survey of Richter's commercial releases of performances of Schubert Piano Sonatas.
_____________________
A wonderful submission. As a long time Richter fan I appreciate your effort and am pleased to note I have several of your recommended discs. Play on.

gperkins151
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by gperkins151 » Sat May 10, 2014 9:02 am

SONNET CLV wrote:
gperkins151 wrote:As promised, I am posting my survey of Richter's commercial releases of performances of Schubert Piano Sonatas.
_____________________
A wonderful submission. As a long time Richter fan I appreciate your effort and am pleased to note I have several of your recommended discs. Play on.
Thanks very much!
George

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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by Seán » Sun May 11, 2014 5:02 am

This is a great thread George, it is hugely informative and a very enjoyable read, thanks for all your efforts, it's greatly appreciated.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

maestrob
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Re: Sviatoslav Richter plays Schubert's Piano Sonatas

Post by maestrob » Sun May 11, 2014 8:27 am

George:

Your superb post has inspired more than a few purchases, thanks very much. A real treasure......

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