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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As brilliant a live performance as you'll ever hear.
Early in 2001, in their "50 Great Recordings" series, Philips reissued the 1958 Sofia recital by Sviatoslav Richter. You may also acquire the recital in the 2 CD "Great Pianists of the Century" series where it is in tandem with Richter playing Prokofiev piano sonatas. I have neither heard that latter release nor ever heard any issue of this Sofia...
Published on 19 Mar 2001 by John Austin

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Diabolical Sound Quality.
This particular recording should never have been issued. Whatever the merits of Richer's playing (and I have been a fan of his since the early 60s), the sound is so depressingly bad that I simply cannot listen to the CD. Prospective buyers should be aware that you need to have a far greater tolerance level than I have to listen to the CD through to the end. I have tried...
Published on 31 Mar 2012 by Mr. E. Mace


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As brilliant a live performance as you'll ever hear., 19 Mar 2001
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin / Liszt / Mussorgsky / Schubert: The Sofia Recital 1958 (Audio CD)
Early in 2001, in their "50 Great Recordings" series, Philips reissued the 1958 Sofia recital by Sviatoslav Richter. You may also acquire the recital in the 2 CD "Great Pianists of the Century" series where it is in tandem with Richter playing Prokofiev piano sonatas. I have neither heard that latter release nor ever heard any issue of this Sofia recital before, so I listened to it with "fresh ears".
Reviews here and elsewhere warned me that the sound was barely tolerable, and that audience coughing was too intrusive. Well, I can report that, once the "Pictures" begin, poor sound quality is forgotten. This is a riveting performance. The piano's dynamic range is well enough suggested, the recording quality is better in the other items, and I was not disturbed by any audible background hum. To those who complain about audience coughs I say: firstly, attend more concerts yourself and become accustomed to this phenomenon and, secondly, regard such sounds as reminders of a live performance before a large audience.
No one is likely to attend any live performance as brilliant as this.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Recital, 19 Jan 2004
This review is from: Chopin / Liszt / Mussorgsky / Schubert: The Sofia Recital 1958 (Audio CD)
This is a brilliant display of pianism, aiming for the highest artistic goals and generally succeeding. The sound quality is variable, the coughing audience can be obstructive and Richter plays quite a few wrong notes - the infamous clip in the first Promenade being the prime example. However, such considerations are superfluous: the Pictures start a little tentatively, but are generally superb. Such are the colours evoked from the piano that one does not miss the Ravel orchestration. The three Schubert pieces are beautifully played, the Chopin is overly melodramatic, the Liszt selection is brilliant - one cannot help but resort to hyperbole when describing the performance of 'Feux follets': it is incredible. The Rachmaninoff makes a perfect encore. Live recitals are difficult: there are mistakes, the interpretation tends to be too lively, and both these factors sometimes conspire to make live recordings irritating. However, this concert marks a definite exception. It is a great feat of the artistry of the pianist.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Diabolical Sound Quality., 31 Mar 2012
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Mr. E. Mace - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin / Liszt / Mussorgsky / Schubert: The Sofia Recital 1958 (Audio CD)
This particular recording should never have been issued. Whatever the merits of Richer's playing (and I have been a fan of his since the early 60s), the sound is so depressingly bad that I simply cannot listen to the CD. Prospective buyers should be aware that you need to have a far greater tolerance level than I have to listen to the CD through to the end. I have tried and tried and failed miserably. Give me the illuminating performance of the Pictures by Ashkenazy plus superb recording quality on Decca any day of the week.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intrusive audience, 7 April 2008
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Mr. A. W. Powsey "red squirrell" (reading, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin / Liszt / Mussorgsky / Schubert: The Sofia Recital 1958 (Audio CD)
I had an old LP of Richter playing "pictures" at a live concert in England in the late 50s, but the surrey audience was obviously healthier than its Sofia counterpart as there was hardly a throat clearing. The Sofia audience must have been specially invited from those suffering from asthma, consumption,COPD and numerous upper respiratory complaints. There is a constant barrage of loud coughs, wheezings, sneezes and other divers intrusions which really spoils this recording for me. The playing is superb but I find it very difficult to relax and concentrate on the quiet pieces such as "The Old Castle" when suddenly there is a mini explosion from a chest victim. I cannot accept that Phillips, who boast this recording is 96kH 24-bit transfer, could have done nothing to filter out the intrusive noises and the slight recording hum. Frankly, the latest transfer may have even enhanced the audience noise! So, my advice is to buy this recording only if you are a serious collector of Richter.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legendary Recital in better remastering!, 30 Mar 2009
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Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chopin / Liszt / Mussorgsky / Schubert: The Sofia Recital 1958 (Audio CD)
You can imagine the impact of this monumental recital and it still remains as one of the moast amazing solo recitals among Richter's entire discography. I've owned several reissues of it, but found this recent reissue sounds clearer without losing atmosphere of the first CD issue.
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