Beethoven, Brahms,Chopin

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Brahms,Chopin
LABELS: Music & Arts
WORKS: Piano Sonatas Opp. 109-11. Ballade in G minor, Op. 118/3; Intermezzi, Op. 118/8 & Op. 119/3. Nocturne in F, Op, 15/1
PERFORMER: Sviatoslav Richter (piano)
This disc raises once again those perennial questions about releasing concert performances as permanent recordings. First, capturing the living inspiration of one of the greatest pianists of the century has to be a worthwhile exercise. There is a special energy about this recital, about the way Richter launches into a sonata almost before the applause has died away, about the unusual and breathtaking inflections of the Brahms Intermezzi – the Op. 119/3, slower and more wistful than other views, is enchanting, coloured and inspired in an apparently spontaneous way that few studio recordings could match. But beware: sound quality is poor at best and in the Beethoven Op. 109 quite appalling – the cover even bears a ‘warning’ about ‘flutter’. And the violence with which Richter attacks the scherzo of this work is startling. There are, however, some marvellous moments: the inexorable rising tread of the Op. 110 fugue, the showers of fantasy in the variations of Op. 111. The booklet comprises an interesting essay on Richter’s life, art and recordings, contributing to the total impression that this CD is a sincere memorial to the late artist. Whatever its shortcomings, it will contribute to our understanding of Richter’s very personal artistry. Collectors will find it valuable. Jessica Duchen