5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I can imagine a younger listener first coming to these performances being almost shocked or scandalised by Richter's no-holds-barred-take-no prisoners manner -especially one brought up to consider the refined and understated style of pianists such as Brendel as the apogee of Beethovian interpretation. Richter attacks the keyboard and at times bangs the heck out of fit to wake the blue-rinse set and delight the shade of LVB himself. Not that he is incapable of filigree delicacy and not that he ever sounds clattery; there is a special sonority about Richter's playing that suggests not a row of black and white keys but an army of musicians at his fingertips; Richter doesn't play, he orchestrates a sonata in big, luscious, polychromatic waves of sound; it is quite phenomenal. It helps that the sound of this bargain Regis issue - re-mastered from the Olympia discs of 1971 and 1975 but originally issued by Melodiya, then EMI - is so appealing: big and rich, quite close without feeling as though your head is trapped under the piano hood. Nor is the singing quality of this music ever neglected; Beethoven as Romantic melodist as well as revolutionary is given his due and as the last bars fade you find yourself humming the refrain of that delightful, insouciant, rippling motif that opens the "Non troppo presto e molto cantabile" of Op.90. "Cantabile" is always foremost in this last work; despite being a much later composition from 1814, it inhabits a different world from the sonatas of 1795. Surprisingly, it is the Beethoven of twenty-five who is all Olympian grandeur and sombre reflection - at least, the way Richter interprets those first two sonatas - the later work has a kind of singing, Schubertian melancholy that smiles bravely through tears. The magnificence and dignity of Richter's playing in the Adagio of the Third Sonata is a monument to his formidable pianistic technique and profound artistic sensibility; contrast it with the ineffable sweetness of, again, that last movement in No.27.
This a disc that should be in everybody's collection - and at Regis' prices, it can be.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a welcome reissue of the outstanding recording, originally released by Olympia. As far as I know, there is no difference in sound quality. The performance itself is gripping from the beginning to the end, displaying Richter's incredible concentration and refinement.
on 10 October 2011
The sound is excellent for an older recording, but the sound doesn't really matter as the spectacular magic of Richter blasts through any limitations. His profound musicianship and peerless technique generate performances of galactic power, when required, and extreme beauty in the slow movements. His version of 3 is certainly one of my desert island performances - for days when I want to rage against the injustice of fate sending me to a desert island.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Don't be put off by the lack of information offered about this recording; the pianist is Stanislav Richter, on top form. Outstanding performances of all three sonatas at a ridiculous price.