Richter The Master, Vol. 9: Bach, Chopin

Richter The Master, Vol. 9: Bach, Chopin

by Sviatoslav RichterSviatoslav Richter

CD

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Overview

A strange but compelling coupling, this two-disc set in Decca's 2007 Richter -- The Master series joins the Russian pianist's 1991 recordings of Bach's "Italian Concerto," "French Overture," and four duetti with his 1988 recordings of eight etudes from Chopin's Opus 10 set; six etudes from his Opus 25 set; plus the "Polonaises in C sharp minor, Op. 26/1"; and C minor Op. 40/2. In the "Italian Concerto," Richter is robust in the fast outer movements and probing in the slow central movement. In the "French Overture," he is tightly controlled in the opening Ouverture and delightfully varied in the seven dance movements that follow. And in the four brief duetti that end the disc, Richter is lyrical and contrapuntal at the same time, making each line sing in delicious, delirious harmony. In short, these are fabulous Richter performances. However, the Chopin selections on disc two, though manifestly the work of the same performer, are something else entirely. Unlike virtually every other major pianist of the twentieth century, Richter doesn't restrict himself by playing all 12 of either set of etudes, nor both of either set of Polonaises. Nor does he restrict himself to playing them in order: he plays the fifth, sixth, eighth, eleventh, and twelfth of the Opus 25 set and then circles back for the seventh. At the very least, this keeps things fresh and one never knows what to expect. But more than that, this keeps things interesting. The connections Richter draws between pieces are always surprising, and the unity he finds in his ordering is convincing. But these oddities are nothing compared with the eccentricities of Richter's performances. To say he impulsively races through the C major and C minor etudes, that he brings out previously unsuspected inner voices of the E major and A minor etudes, and that he makes the most of the drama inherent in every fermata and sforzando in the "C sharp minor Polonaise" is only to mention the most obvious eccentricities in Richter's playing. At a deeper level, it is his complete subjectivity, his determination to play every piece as if there had never been another performance of it before, and his conviction that makes Richter's interpretations uniquely compelling. Though the sound of both sets of live performances is fairly rough, the performances themselves, especially the Chopin, are mandatory listening for any Richter fan who hasn't already heard them.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/13/2007
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028947586340
catalogNumber: 001010702
Rank: 121594

Tracks

  1. Italian Concerto, for solo keyboard in F major (Clavier-Übung II/1), BWV 971 (BC L7)
  2. Overture in the French Manner, partita for keyboard in B minor (Clavier-Übung II/2), BWV 831
  3. Duetto, for keyboard No. 1 in E minor (Clavier-Übung III No. 23), BWV 802 (BC J74)
  4. Duetto, for keyboard No. 2 in F major (Clavier-Übung III No. 24), BWV 803 (BC J75)
  5. Duetto, for keyboard No. 3 in G major (Clavier-Übung III No. 25), BWV 804 (BC J76)
  6. Duetto, for keyboard No. 4 in A minor (Clavier-Übung III No. 26), BWV 805 (BC J77)
  7. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 1 in C major
  8. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 2 in A minor
  9. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 3 in E major
  10. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 4 in C sharp minor
  11. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 6 in E flat minor
  12. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 10 in A flat major
  13. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 11 in E flat major
  14. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 10, CT. 14-25: No. 12 in C minor
  15. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 25, CT. 26-37: No. 5 in E minor
  16. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 25, CT. 26-37: No. 6 in G sharp minor
  17. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 25, CT. 26-37: No. 8 in D flat major
  18. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 25, CT. 26-37: No. 11 in A minor
  19. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 25, CT. 26-37: No. 12 in C minor
  20. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 25, CT. 26-37: No. 7 in C sharp minor
  21. Polonaise for piano No. 1 in C sharp minor, Op. 26/1, CT. 150
  22. Polonaise for piano No. 4 in C minor, Op. 40/2, CT. 153

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