Haydn, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Prokofiev & Debussy

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COMPOSERS: Chopin,Haydn,Prokofiev & Debussy,Rachmaninoff,Ravel
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Richter Rediscovered
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Sviatoslav Richter (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 63844 2 ADD
Sviatoslav Richter’s first American tour in 1960 created a furore both because it seemed to represent an artistic defusing of Cold War tensions and because word of mouth and Richter’s recordings had built expectations to fever pitch. Richter’s playing at the Carnegie Hall recital, belatedly issued here (supplemented by additional encores from a Newark recital two days later), thoroughly justifies the acclaim he reaped. His combination of energy, focus and unflagging momentum in Haydn’s late C major Sonata and in Prokofiev’s Sixth is invigorating, even awe-inspiring, though some may object that the Haydn and the opening pages of Ravel’s Jeux d’eau are overly intense and breathless at such precipitate speeds. But Richter’s unique poeticising is on display in Rachmaninoff preludes and Ravel’s La vallée des cloches, and each of ten Prokofiev Visions fugitives emerges more scintillating than the last; only in some of his Chopin selections does Richter seem to lack unerring insight into the essence of the music. At his best, Richter’s vitality and uncompromising integrity yield some of the most inspiring pleasures music can afford, and such qualities are on display enough of the time in this set to warrant an enthusiastic recommendation. David Breckbill