Of course, the listener can tell the Handel Suites played by Andrei Gavrilov from the Handel Suites played by Sviatoslav Richter. Gavrilov's Suites are superbly played, thoughtfully performed, and persuasively interpreted. Richter's Suites, however, are supremely well played, penetratingly performed, and profoundly interpreted. Gavrilov's Suites are among the best recordings of the Suites ever made, catching the works' playfulness and seriousness, their sense of intimacy, and their sense of entertainment. Richter's Suites, however, are among the best recordings of anything ever made, plumbing the depths of the works' emotions, reaching the heights of their excitement, and realizing all the greatness and magnificence of their genius. Some listeners might legitimately prefer the Suites performed on the harpsichord, the instrument for which Handel intended them. But any listener with ears to hear should hear these recordings. Gavrilov is as good as the best. Richter, however, is better than the best. EMI's early-'80s sound is perhaps a bit too recessed and a little too reverberant.
Handel: Keyboard Suites, Vol. 1 Review
by James Leonard