Beethoven/Chopin

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven/Chopin
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C; Etudes, Op. 10/1-4, 6, 11, 12
PERFORMER: Sviatoslav Richter (piano)Orchestra of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival/Christoph Eschenbach
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 61534 2 DDD
Most of Sviatoslav Richter’s discs are compilations from concerts, and this one was recorded at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in 1988. In the outer movements of the concerto, it seems Richter wants slower tempi than Eschenbach finds comfortable, though there’s some keenly expressive if not always tidy playing from the orchestra. Except in the very long and powerful first movement cadenza, Richter is unusually gentle, almost placid. Nor is he very fiery in Chopin’s Revolutionary Study, and he’s loth to give the first and fourth studies the brilliance we’ve come to expect. But he’s limpid and flexible in the third study and does something mysterious and marvellous with the left hand in the second, producing a sound I’ve never heard here before – it reminds me of the crisp staccato of some of Tchaikovsky’s ballet music. The piano sound throughout is delicate and fine but the disc as a whole is a bit of a curate’s egg. Adrian Jack

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