Sviatoslav Richter

Sviatoslav Richter Archives, Vol. 17: Budapest Recital, 1967

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There are other recordings available of Sviatoslav Richter performing all the works on this disc -- Schubert's Wanderer Fantasia, a pair of Schumann's Novelettes, and a pair of Beethoven's sonatas, all recorded live in Budapest in 1967 -- and these performances don't compare very favorably with them. Richter's classic 1963 Paris account of the Wanderer is more controlled, particularly in the outer Allegros. His 1960 Carnegie Hall readings of Schumann's Novelettes are more fantastic, especially in the Trios. His 1976 Tours performance of Beethoven's Op. 10/3 Sonata is more accurate in the opening Presto, and his 1961 London performance of the "Tempest" Sonata is more demonic in the closing Allegretto. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that these are fabulous performances. The depths Richter plumbs in the Wanderer's central theme and variations are still profound, the tenderness of his Novelettes is still affecting, and the strength, energy, and expressivity of his sonatas puts them in a class of their own. While this disc is not for the casual classical fan, it will be mandatory listening for the avid Richter fan. Although it is well remastered from what must have been a grim live recording, Doremi's sound, while about as good as is possible under the circumstances, is still not very good.

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