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Sviatoslav Richter's Boston Debut Double CD

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Munch
  • Composer: Beethoven, Brahms
  • Audio CD (19 Sept. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: West Hill Radio Archives
  • ASIN: B005BK59LY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,914 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43 - Sviatoslav Richter/Boston Symphony Orchestra
2. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15 - Sviatoslav Richter/Boston Symphony Orchestra
Disc: 2
1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 83 - Sviatoslav Richter/Boston Symphony Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Beethoven/Brahms Sviatoslav Richter's Boston Debut


Number 9 in Top Albums of 2011 - Classical re-issues section: 'The great Russian pianist live on his first visit to America, in 1960.' --Top 100 Albums of 2011 - David Cairn's selection of Classical Re-issues.

On listening to these discs it seemed to me that the partnership between Richter and his Boston hosts was at its most fruitful in the Beethoven. The Brahms, though admirable in many ways, has its rough edges. The very opening of the first movement is taken very broadly indeed a bit too broadly for my taste. The first orchestral tutti (from 1:44) sounds very hard driven and Richter's solo leading up to it is a bit splashy. I wondered if this hard-driven impression derived from the recorded sound, which can be a touch harsh in loud passages. However, as the movement unfolded I came to the view that Munch's way with the orchestral score tends to be rather too vigorous at times. The louder passages sound somewhat emphatic and one has the impression that everyone is trying just a bit too hard. Having heard several live Brahms performances from Boston under Pierre Monteux in recent months I couldn t help but wonder if the results here might have been better had Le Maître been on the rostrum. However, that's perhaps less than fair to Munch and it has to be said that the more reflective passages in this movement come off well. Richter displays considerable virtuosity in the face of the often formidable demands of the solo part though he's not infallible. Neither is the BSO principal horn player, who has a distinctly shaky and exposed few moments at 9:10. My overall impression is that this movement doesn't quite come off though there s much to admire along the way. Thereafter, however, matters improve significantly. Everyone sounds much more at ease in II; this movement is given a dynamic and assured reading. For me, the Andante shows the value of issuing live concert recordings. The tone is set by the fine, nutty-toned cello solo (Samuel Mayes?) and then we find Richter in reflective, elevated mood. This is a distinguished account of one of Brahms's most sublime movements, nowhere more so than in the passage (from 7:42) that leads back to the reprise of the cello solo (at 9:48). This is inspirational playing, caught on the wing and possibly never repeatable except that it's preserved here for us. The concerto ends with a felicitous reading of the sunny finale. Here both soloist and orchestra offer high spirits and also passages of great delicacy. Though there are a few reservations about the Brahms performance the Beethoven concerto strikes me as a pretty unqualified success. The reading of I is very fine. The pacing seems well-nigh ideal and Richter's pianism is of the highest order; his playing is, by turns, nimble, graceful and dynamic. Munch and his orchestra are excellent partners for him. One passage stood out for me; at 8:49 Richter's pianissimo chromatic triplets are just exquisite before the soloist's headlong downward plunge to the recapitulation. Richter offers the longest and most challenging of Beethoven s cadenzas (12:45-16:14) and gives a brilliant account of it. In II Richter is rapt and patrician and he plays with great refinement. The tempo is spacious but the performers fully vindicate the choice of speed. There are one or two minor tonal blemishes in the orchestral accompaniment but these are insufficient to mar a captivating performance caught on the wing. The Rondo is brilliant and vital and the ovation that greets the end of the performance is entirely justified. A will be noted from the track listing at least some of the radio announcements have been retained and this I like; it increases the sense of occasion. The transfers are from the original broadcast tapes . I imagine that the broadcast was by station WGBH, the long-time broadcasting partner of the BSO... This was an important occasion in the career of Sviatoslav Richter and this great pianist's many admirers should ensure they hear these discs. John Quinn --Musicweb international

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mhr on 13 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These recordings were made when Richter visited the US for the first time in 1960. Judging from them, at the age of about 45, he was at the peak of his powers.

Beethoven's Concerto No. 1, starting with rather restrained first few bars, is brilliantly played. Richter's technical perfection is taken for granted, but his playing appears to shed a new light on the work. The accompaniment by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Charles Munch is very good.

Richter plays the "Appassionata" Sonata literally passionately. The third movement is played a little too fast, to my liking. Although the tempo marking by the composer is "Allegro ma non troppo - Presto", it is played at a tempo of "Allegro con brio - Presto" (taking just 7 minutes). It sounds quite breathless, and it may not suit every listener's (including my) taste.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scriabinmahler TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Nov. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are at least seven recordings of Appassionata Sonata by Richter and this RCA recording is definitely one of the most intensely charged ones. No pianists can match the level of concentration and the transcendental drive in this performance.

His performance of Concerto No.1 is also totally captivating and dazzling, exuding elan.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Christmas on 10 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD
HEADS UP: The reviews below are for the RCA Studio recording of the Beethoven 1st Concerto only. For my review of the Live performances set pictured here, see my review at amazon US
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Beethoven doesn't come any better 13 July 2004
By J. Buxton - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The recording of the concerto was recorded in the late 1950's, soon after Richter was discovered in the U.S. The recording is spectacular, bearing all the hallmarks of a recording made in Symphony Hall during those years: warm, resonant, with full sound from strings, bass, and brass. But it is Richter's piano that delights, with much spontaneity and interesting touches. Moreover, if you have not heard this version of the "Appassionata" sonata by Richter, you must look into this. It is one of the best performances available of this turbulent piece. A bargain.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Tour De Force!!! 11 Jun. 2006
By Ravi - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Sviatoslav Richter with Boston Symphony and Charles Munch performing Beethoven!!!You cannot have a better combination of Forces!Truly Herculean!The Boston Symphony explodes with the Bravura passages of this First Piano concerto.Richter provides the contrast by starting off in Pianissimo and quickly shifts the attention!Only to shift gears to some incredible Staccato playing that he only is capable of!How he alternates athletic vigour with balletic grace!Heaven shattering Demonic intensity when required alternating with incredible Bel Canto style fairy Talish innocence!!!Intense introverted contemplation and serenity alternating with Exhuberant Extroverted Swagger,supremely confident!Can anyone play piano like This?!!!Marvellous.Munch keeps the orchestra in top form through out.Full bodied Sound by RCA Engineers!Full credit to them!You cannot ask for a better deal.
This performance took place a Month after Richter's Recording of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with Erich Leinsdorf and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (In 1960,Richter toured USA for the First Time)
In addition you have Richter's inimitable Appasionata.No other Pianist Matches Richter's intensity of playing and raw power in this Tour De Force of a performance.
Give yourself a Lifetime Treat by buying this wonderful CD.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Yes, Richter is great, but Munch is crude and the piano sound atrocious 29 Sept. 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
In 1960 Richtr was first exposed to the United States and immediately hated it. The only concerto recordings he made here were two: this Beethoven First from Boston and a much greater Brahms Second with the Chicago Sym. The latter bids fair to be the greatest reading by any pianist, but the Beethoven is another kettle of fish. To begin with, Munch's conception is rackety and hectoring, a travesty even in an age when early Beethoven was played large. Richter doesn't go along with the slam-bang orchestral work, keeping his solo part within restraints. His touch is lovely in the slow movement, taken slowly and on Munch's part not very sensitively. The finale comes off with high spirits and brio, but the orchestral part remains overblown.

The main attraction isn't the concerto, however, but the two sonatas, including Richter's famously reckless, impetuous "Appassionata," a classic for four decades. You can get several alternative readings of this sonata from him, and so a word of caution is in order. The sound of the piano is atrocious -- hard, glassy, and thin. How RCA, the home of Living Stereo, could countenance such nasty sonics is beyond me. The same holds true in the gentler Op. 54 sonata, and hre I think Richter is too forceful, to the point of aggression. In all, this is a renowned recording that's showing its age sonically despite Richter's undoubted brilliane in the "Appassionata."
Essential Richter 23 Oct. 2010
By T. Webster - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is the first recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto #1 and the two sonatas I owned, and I have played them many times over the past 40 years. I would call attention to the slow movement of the Appassionata, which Richter plays with great warmth and tenderness. Many people know and value the Richter of jaw-dropping power and virtuosity, but he could also play slow passages with a kind of spiritual fervor that few pianists ever achieve. The Adagio of the Rachmaninov Concerto #2 would be one example, and the Andante of Sonata #23 on this recording is another. Those who collect Richter recordings know the wide range of recording quality of his extensive discography. This disc is certainly among the better recordings of Richter available and an essential item in any Richter collection. The sound is quite good for 1960.
Spectacular peformance 22 Aug. 2010
By B. Sutherland - Published on
Format: Audio CD
As I'm typing this, I'm hearing the 2nd movement, very beautiful, hair raising sonic beauty from Richter accompanied by the rich sounds from the Boston symphony. I can see why Richter is one of the best pianists ever. Truly beautiful playing and the sonatas are breathtaking.
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