Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sviatoslav Richter Plays Joseph Haydn

Richter has always been a man to explore music from the inside out. When it comes to his playing of the great Classical masters (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven), for instance, it must be admitted that he is out of step with contemporary trends in appearing essentially uninterested in an historical approach, at least as a central tenet of performance. Ironically, though, this enables him to come closer than many a more 'authentic' performer to revealing the striking originality and timeless freshness of many: of Haydn's sonatas (so much bloder than Mozart's in their stylistic rovings). There is nothing basically incompatible, in many cases, beween Richter's approach to the music of his friend Prokofiev, say, and his approach to Haydn. In the loudness, volume and percussiveness of his tone in several of the present sonatas there is nothing to suggest that he has ever heard, or cared to hear, a period or period-style fortepiano. In many cases the same touch, the same degree and character of rhythmic emphasis that he uses for Haydn would serve equally well, and perhaps more idiomatically, for Prokofiev. Interestingly, Prokofiev's own approach to the Classical style - famously immortalised in his First Symphony - was rather trough Haydn than Mozart, and Richter's proclivities, to judge only from his performances, would seem to follow suit.
As many of his recent perfomances of 'early' music (Bach, Haydn, Mozart), Richter here combines, tonal austerity with a certain motoric rhythmical drive, again suggestive of Prokofiev. The pedalling is spare, but as immaculately controlled as one would expect, and the subtle rise and fall of vocal-style inflections, so bounteous in his Chopin, Liszt and Schuman, is at times almost abrasively absent. Here, as much of his Bach playing, Richter seems primarily intent on focussing our attention on the design of the music, on its deployment and contrasting of particular patterns, types of melodic outline and harmonic juxtapositions. Much of his playing here may strike some listeners as neglecting the overtly 'expressive' character of the music in favour of an objective, meditational approach. What few, surely, can doubt is that the effect is entirely deliberate. Richter is too awesome a master of the technical means at his disposal to be suspected of accidental ambiguity.
It would be misleading, however, to suggest that the pianist takes a uniform approach to the composer. The uncompromising 'intellectual' acerbity wich he brings to one movement or sonata may be quite absent from another, but even the most evidently lyrical performances here are delivered with a notable economy of expressive means.
© Jeremie Siepmann, 1993, from the booklet

Sviatoslav Richter
Joseph Haydn


Cd. 1

Sonata in B minor, Hob. XVI.32

1 I. Allegro moderato  7:00
2 II. Menuet  3:47
3 III. Finale : Presto  5:16

Sonata in D minor, Hob. XVI.24

4 I. Allegro  7:05
5 II. Adagio  3:36
6 III. Finale : Presto  3:08

Sonata in A-flat major, Hob. XVI.46

7 I. Allegro moderato  12:21
8 II. Adagio  13:04
9 III. Finale : Presto  4:23

Sonata in B-flat major, Hob. XVI.2

10 I. Moderato  6:15
11 II. Largo  4:51
12 III. Menuet  4:12


Cd. 2

Sonata in G minor, Hob. XVI.44

1 I. Moderato  9:53
2 II. Allegretto  3:39

Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI.40

3 I. Allegretto e Innocente  6:47
4 II. Presto  3:05

Sonata in B-flat major, Hob. XVI.41

5 I. Allegro  8:10
6 II. Allegro di molto  2:28

Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI.48

7 I. Andante con espressione  8:53
8 II. Rondo : Presto  3:42

Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. XVI.52

9 I. Allegro  8:18
10 II. Adagio  6:34
11 III. Presto  5:45


Sviatoslav Richter - p

Recorded in 1986 [Cd. 1] ; & Teatro des Bibbiena, Mantova ; February, 1987 [Cd. 2]


Three Reposts added here
Sviatoslav Richter Edition 4 'Tchaikovsky Recital', Olympia OCD334
Sviatoslav Richter Edition 5 'Schubert' Olympia OCD335
 Sviatoslav Richter Edition 7 'Sergei Rachmaninov' Olympia OCD337


Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

What's here is simply astonishing. I wish I knew how to contribute - maybe I can figure it out. Thanks. A million.

Iason said...

Thank you.