Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sviatoslav Richter in Locarno '66

Sviatoslav Richter's international career presents so many anomalies as to make it absolutely atypical, if not unique, in the entire history of concertising. The Napoleonic Wars delayed the start of Ignaz Moschele's career, who, only in 1815, at the age of twenty-one, was able to begin his travels all over Europe. The first World War blocked the career of Walter Gieseking, who began to become internationally know around the age of twenty-five instead of around twenty. And the Second World War made it impossible for the nineteen-year-old Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli to take full advantage of his sensational victory at the Geneva competition, causing him to begin his international career around the age of twenty-six. Emil Gilels, winner of the 1938 Brussels competition, was also stopped by the War... and then by the Cold War. But as soon as the Soviets decided to send their artists abroad as cultural ambassadors, that is, around the second half of the 1950s, Gilels came to western Europe and to the United Sates, quickly making a name for himself. Wereas the young pianists of his generation — Gilels, Lipatti, Benedetti Michelangeli, Uninski, Zak, Flier, Malcusinski, Lympany, Tamarkina, de La Bruchollerie — were winning international competitions, Richter started out as assistant conductor at the Odessa opera house. The career that awaited him when when he had already passed the age of twenty was that of, to put it nicely, the "faithfull assitant conductor" in a provincial opera house. But, with an initiative that must not have been easy, especially financially, he went to Moscow and enrolled in Neuhaus's class at the Conservatory. Neuhaus put him in contact with other artists in the capital, and in 1945 he won, in a tie with Merzhanov, a national competition, and began to play extensively in the USSR and in  what were then derogatorily called the "Satellite countries". The recordings of some of his concerts in the satellite countries — Poland, Czechkoslovakia, Bulgaria — and the records made in the USSR demonstrate that Richter, between the ages of thirty-five and forty, was a pianist of world stature who certainly wouldn't have embarrassed his country by playing overseas. But, his father being of German origin, it was only in 1960 that he obtained permission to travel to the West : he played in Finland, and then in the United States, creating an unprecedented sensation. It seems to me that there  was perhaps a precedent, evan if it might seem too extravagant to bring up, and even if, when all is said and done, Richter's qualities were more poetic than demonic : the precedent might be Niccolò Paganini. In 1828, at age 46, Paganini crossed the Alps for the first time. Europe knew many great violonists, yet the arrival of Paganini threw the whole world into a frenzy, with consequences that we all know...
Piero Rattalino, from the booklet

Sviatoslav Richter


Carl Maria von Weber

Sonata in D minor, Op. 49 n° 3
1 Allegro feroce  11:25
2 Andante con moto  7:17
3 Rondo (presto)  5:36

Johannes Brahms

4 Capriccio in C minor, Op. 76 n° 8  2:47
5 Intermezzo in E minor, Op. 116 n° 5  3:32
6 Ballata in G minor, Op. 118 n° 3  3:12
7 Rapsodie in E-Sharp major, Op. 119 n° 4  3:49

Serguei Prokofiev

Sonata n° 6 in A major, Op. 82
8 Allegro moderato  8:55
9 Allegretto  3:50
10 Tempo di valzer (lentissimo)  6:22
11 Vivace  6:12


Sviatoslav Richter - p

Recorded Chiesa di san Francesco, Locarno, Italia (Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana/Rete) ; September 8, 1966


dreadco said...

Thanks! Should be a great introduction to Weber.

woland said...

These recordings are simply wonderful. Richter later chose them for his "authorised recordings" reissue, since they truly caputure him in the finest shape. Thank you very much!

ron d said...

hi, is there a way for you to renew the links please? thnak you

Li Jianmin said...

Could you re-upload? Thanks.

Melanchthon said...


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Little man, you've had a busy day. I am astounded by your industry and immensely grateful for your largess.


Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Great Mel!! (as always)