Richter made his debut in the West in 1960 with Beethoven's Piano Sonata op.2 no.3 at a recital in New York. Beethoven's Hammerklavier' Sonata was one of the main features of Richter's programming in the summer of 1975 in Prague, London and Aldeburgh, the latter performed one week prior to London and recorded on BBC Legends.
Richter's live recitals catch him at his very best compared to the confines of the studio. The 1975 recital in London was considered a landmark, one of the greatest that Richter gave in this country. Richard Osborne has written in the booklet notes, "As Richter's performance vividly attests, the Hammerklavier' is from first note to last a work of extraordinary lucidity and clear-sightedness." The Beethoven Piano Sonata No.3 op.2 no.3 and the three Bagatelles op.126, which formed the other works played in all the 1975 concerts, attest to Richter's great understanding of Beethoven.
This is the first time that this London recital has been issued commercially on CD in an authorised version and it is remastered here in excellent stereo. ICA's Richter discography includes ICAC 5004 where Richter plays Haydn, Weber, Schumann, Chopin and Debussy at the Royal Festival Hall in 1967. "Richter is at the height of his powers." (Richard Osborne)
This is an outstanding disc.It contains some of the greatest piano playing I have ever heard, and the most profound interpretation of what is, for me, Beethoven's greatest piano work, the Hammklavier Sonata. Performance ***** Recording *** --BBC Music Magazine, Feb'13