Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sviatoslav Richter Plays Schubert (D. 958 & 960)

Dating from the early seventies, the great Sviatoslav Richter delivers two astonishing performances of late Schubert. Despite being blessed with an awe-inspiring technique, it is the sheer level of Richter's concentration throughout coupled with his minute attention to detail that makes the two performances on this disc such a compulsive and special experience and ranks them alongside the finest available in the catalogue. The C minor Sonata (1827/8) becomes a cogent, gripping experience in Richter's hands. From the arresting opening through the bleakest sounds of the development, the music is driven by Richter's masterly control of rhythm. His full tone means that Schubert's sonorities sound with the utmost weight. Even more importantly, Richter, throughout the disc, gives Schubert's inner voices their own life : this generates the vitality which propels the movement along. Furthermore, he refuses to fall into the trap of overly relaxing the tempos in the lyrical passages, with the result that the underlying pulse retains its integrity. This relentless concentration is at its most impressive in the Adagio. The sheer scope of his conception means that he can give the fullest tone to the chordal passages in the Menuetto without for a second making one think that this is too much for Schubert. In the finale, Richter confronts Schubert's stark juxtapositions head on, without the slightest hint of apology. Perhaps it could be argued that he fails to relax enough, but this would not be in line with his impressive interpretation. A performance, then, to sit alongside the supremely sensitive Uchida (Philips 456 579-2, coupled with D959). The rhythmic sense which forms the backbone to D958 really comes into its own in the 1972 recording of the enormous final B-Flat sonata. There is no doubt that Richter definitely heeds the 'Molto moderato' marking, but still secures a seamless legato. With the extra space his chosen speed allows, the low left hand trill response to the initial statement of the first theme is truly disturbing. To take this movement slowly is easy enough : but to follow it through a 25-minute musical argument requires the concentrational stamina of a Richter. Throughout this monumental reading, textures are perfectly (and sometimes exquisitely) controlled. Richter ensures there is no let up by bringing near stasis to the Andante sostenuto. This seems perfectly fitting, natural even, after the experience of the first movement: the sweet balm of the third movement Scherzo comes as a blessed relief. Only later does one realise that Richter is merely following what Schubert directs, i.e. 'con delicatezza'. The finale is perfectly balanced and shaded. It remains to refer to some great performances of this Sonata which are currently available: the transcendentally otherworldly Uchida (Philips 456 572-2), the imperial Pollini (DG 427 326-2) and Maria Yudina's live 1947 performance on Dante HPC123 (this latter version deserving of greater currency). But students of Schubert (or of sovereign piano playing) should not be without Richter's account.
Colin Clarke

Source :

Sviatoslav Richter
Franz Schubert


Piano Sonata n° 19 in C minor, Op. posth. (D. 958)
1 I. Allegro  11:27
2 II. Adagio  8:14
3 III. Menuetto. Allegro  3:32
4 IV. Allegro  8:36

Piano Sonata n° 21 in B-Flat major, Op. posth. (D. 960)
5 I. Molto moderato  24:31
6 II. Andante sostenuto  10:04
7 III. Scherzo. Alegro vivace con delicatezza  3:51
8 IV. Allegro ma non troppo  7:52


Sviatoslav Richter - p

Recorded by Ariola-Eurosdisc in 1973, Munich [# 1-4] & 1972, Schloss Anif, Salzburg [# 5-8]


David said...

Would someone who visits this blog be kind enough to tell me what is the best program with which to unpack the files here?

I am used to rar and apparently need another format.

Thank you very much.

PS: Fantastic blog and community here.

David said...

Ok. Found it. "Free .7z File Archiver..."


Sandflyer said...

Richter, the undemanding genius. I thought I had the monopoly on old Olympia and Melodiya recordings, but it looks like I was wrong!
Thanks, again.

The 7z archiver is open source, so you don't get the nags like you do in WinRAR or WinZIP.
7z works fine with ZIP and RAR files as well (although it does not actually produce RAR files, only ZIP.

Christopher said...

D 960 is quite profound.A whole life is in the Andante alone. Have other Richter performances of this one.
Thanks so much fo this

Vijay said...

Amazing uploads. Thank you. I am an ardent fan of Richter. Please upload rest of the Olympia releases if you have them.

electroloco said...

your is down please Upload it again
thank you

Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

Thank you!


rubberduck said...

Only Richter play the 960 in this way.

really great.

Many thanks, Mel

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much

Anonymous said...

these archives on Zippyshare are secured, cant open them.
Could you please post a passwrd?


Anonymous said...

Finally, I have opened it and played.
Richter + Schubert = pure joy

Thx a lot!!!

sasha said...

Hands down the best performance of the first movement of the Bb sonata I have ever heard. Astonishing in its concentration and length of line. Trance like in its effect. Hypnotic.

Anonymous said...

Password is required to open the file. Can you help ? Thanks
Richter + Schubert