Monday, April 1, 2013

Richter enjoyed single composer recitals, and the juxtaposition of Bethoven's questing, almost symphonic Op. 2/3 Sonata with the Hammerklavier presents the listener with music of great intellectual vigour. Beethoven's intention was to create the "greatest ever sonata" with Hammerklavier. His Aldeburgh performance of the Hammerklavier begins with starling intensity and drive - a thrilling opening that grabs you and compels you to listen. The famous initial piano fanfare, which made such an impression on the young Brahms (who used the same rhthmic structure for the beginning of his Sonata Op. 1), is like an unleashing of the elements - perhaps a musical equivalent of the "Big Bang". In the succeeding music Richter guides the phrases to keep them constantly questing and challenging. One can relish the sound he makes yet not for a moment does he allow the music to lose energy or momentum.
It is that ingredient - energy - that lies at the heart of Richter's performance and shapes the architecture of the music right to the last bar. The fugal last movement is daringly ferocious, but again pianistic pyrotechnics never come at the exprense of clarity and objectivity. If Richter sometimes appears fallible, that only seems to enhance our appreciation of Beethoven and the sense of struggle so important in his music. Richter understood the need for introducing contrast between the first and third movements : in the Scherzo he accentuates the joyous dance quality and revels in the sudden, witty changes of idea. He is aware that this movement has to prepare the listener for te intensity and magnitude of the gloriously long slow movement to follow. (It now seems incredible that people used to suggest that the Scherzo in this work should come after the slow movement.)
© ‎2000 Chris Wines, from the booklet

Sviatoslav Richter
Plays
Beethoven

Tracks

Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770-1827)

Piano Sonata n° 3 in C Major, Op. 2 n° 3
1 I. Allegro con brio  7:51
2 II. Adagio  7:51
3 III. Scherzo. Allegro - Trio  3:24
4 IV. Allegro assai  5:00

Six Bagatelles for Piano, Op. 126
(excerpts)
5 N° 1 - Andante con moto. Cantabile e compiacevole  3:15
6 N° 4 - Presto  3:16
7 N° 6 - Presto - Andante amabile e con moto  3:38

Piano Sonata n° 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106
"Grosse Sonate für das Hammerklavier"
8 I. Allegro  10:44
9 II. Scherzo. Assai vivace  2:57
10 III. Adagio sostenuto. Appassionato e con molto sentimento  17:46
11 IV. Largo - Allegro risoluto  11:39

*

Sviatoslav Richter - p

Recorded Blythburg Church, Aldeburgh Festival ; June 11, 1975

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