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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richter plays Schubert, 13 Nov 2010
By 
A. Zona - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert - Piano Sonatas, D575, D625 & D664 (Audio CD)
A really beautiful live recital by the legendary pianist Sviatoslav Richter on Schubert only compositions, taped on March 31st, 1979 at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Undoubtedly a great pleasure and enjoyment to listen to, Richter readings are really moving, passionate, fragile, fluid, intimate. The package is nice with interesting liner notes and photos. However, I have one complaint. The sound of the piano is natural and sufficiently clear and detailed, but the audience is really annoying! I guess that there was bad whether the day this concert was recorded as some persons got cold and were continuously coughing. So I still have the great recordings by Kempff (DG box set Schubert Piano Sonatas) as my favourite primary source of the Schubert sonatas. Anyway, I totally recommend this CD if you want to have a testimony of what a Schubert solo piano live recital should sound like... Enjoy and ignore the audience!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Playing of genius, 21 Sep 2001
This review is from: Schubert - Piano Sonatas, D575, D625 & D664 (Audio CD)
According to Richter himself, he was the first pianist to play the Schubert piano sonatas in public.
This disk is a recording of a London recital he gave in the late 1970s and, to my mind, is the best Schubert playing I have yet to hear.
I was struck immediatedly by the incredible shine, balance and purity of the performances: even though the hallmarks of the Richter personality are there, I was made to feel that I was listening to Schubert himself rather than the pianist.
And it is this purity of interpretation which, for me, was Richter's most important and most elevating trait. One found it in him more than in any other pianist I have heard.
Chris Harman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richter at his best- an indescribable recital, 23 Sep 2013
By 
Mr. A. N. Matthews (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert - Piano Sonatas, D575, D625 & D664 (Audio CD)
This disc is one of two separate discs that make up a recital of 4 Schubert sonata that Richter gave at the RFH in March 1979. The other sonata is the A Minor D784. Richter hadn't appeared in London for some time. Having been to the RFH hundreds of times this recital sticks in my memory perhaps more than nearly all the others. It is very rare to go a concert when everything grips you from start to finish. I remember all the reviews were ecstatic. I think it was Dominic Gill writing in the FT started the review by saying "This was a great recital". He was right. From the gentle carefree D575 played with such a natural flow that you could be next to a gin clear Hampshire chalkstream on a spring walk, to the dark brooding A minor everything was played with clarity and complete concentration so that every note counted. The cumulative effect of the four works added up to something unforgettable. You cannot begin to analyse his technique of bringing out the natural Schubertian quality that we all know when we hear it but cannot translate it into words. All great pianists have two basic qualities, clarity and an ability to make absolutely every note count to its maximum effect. There are no such things as highly polished play throughs. Richter gets to the essence of these pieces. The final torrent of the last movement of the A minor ends with the certain feeling that despair has hit you right between the eyes. After the heartfelt slow movement the devastation is complete.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lucid and eloquent Schubert, 3 July 2014
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert - Piano Sonatas, D575, D625 & D664 (Audio CD)
It must have seemed bold of Richter, at age 64 in 1979 -- by which time he had achieved a near-mythical reputation -- to program three pretty early Schubert sonatas (1817-19 or so), none of which calls for the kind of virtuosity that would be required for Prokofiev or for the depth of expression that the late great Schubert sonatas would require. I wondered if I could listen to it all through, or whether I should just cut to the D.664, which I had heard in Ashkenazy's lovely account. Well, I started on track 1 -- and I had no urge thereafter to do anything but listen to the program through. There is nothing glitzy or odd in the interpretations. The pace might be a bit slower than some others, but the tempos of the movements always seem to make sense in relation to the tempos of the other movements, and there is absolutely no sense of drag: the playing is crisp and rhythmically alive, and the musical development seems to flow naturally, without one ever wondering about what interpretive stance the pianist might or might not be exemplifying. The word I want to use is "lucid" -- whether it is Richter's playing, or the BBC engineers' sonics, everything seems clear and unhurried, so that the music just seems to present itself to the listener. The engineers are to be credited with making sure that the limpid playing in the upper reaches of the keyboard never sounds dry and glassy. There's a moderate warmth to the tone, and no clouding of the line with over-pedaling.

Richter in his younger years was a pianist who worked to make Schubert's piano sonatas respectable for public performance -- they do not, after all, offer opportunities for virtuoso showing-off. By the time of this concert, his work had been successful, with Ashkenazy, Brendel, and others all having taken up the cause. The studio recordings of Ashkenazy and Lupu were given lovely sound by Decca, and I would recommend them (and Brendel) to a listener's attention. But hear Richter too -- in this recital he leads the ear along, and the result is magical.
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