Beethoven doesn't come any better
J. Buxton | Waltham, MA United States | 07/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The recording of the concerto was recorded in the late 1950's, soon after Richter was discovered in the U.S. The recording is spectacular, bearing all the hallmarks of a recording made in Symphony Hall during those years: warm, resonant, with full sound from strings, bass, and brass. But it is Richter's piano that delights, with much spontaneity and interesting touches. Moreover, if you have not heard this version of the "Appassionata" sonata by Richter, you must look into this. It is one of the best performances available of this turbulent piece. A bargain."
Yes, Richter is great, but Munch is crude and the piano soun
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1960 Richtr was first exposed to the United States and immediately hated it. The only concerto recordings he made here were two: this Beethoven First from Boston and a much greater Brahms Second with the Chicago Sym. The latter bids fair to be the greatest reading by any pianist, but the Beethoven is another kettle of fish. To begin with, Munch's conception is rackety and hectoring, a travesty even in an age when early Beethoven was played large. Richter doesn't go along with the slam-bang orchestral work, keeping his solo part within restraints. His touch is lovely in the slow movement, taken slowly and on Munch's part not very sensitively. The finale comes off with high spirits and brio, but the orchestral part remains overblown.
The main attraction isn't the concerto, however, but the two sonatas, including Richter's famously reckless, impetuous "Appassionata," a classic for four decades. You can get several alternative readings of this sonata from him, and so a word of caution is in order. The sound of the piano is atrocious -- hard, glassy, and thin. How RCA, the home of Living Stereo, could countenance such nasty sonics is beyond me. The same holds true in the gentler Op. 54 sonata, and hre I think Richter is too forceful, to the point of aggression. In all, this is a renowned recording that's showing its age sonically despite Richter's undoubted brilliane in the "Appassionata.""
Tour De Force!!!
Ravi | CHENNAI,INDIA | 06/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sviatoslav Richter with Boston Symphony and Charles Munch performing Beethoven!!!You cannot have a better combination of Forces!Truly Herculean!The Boston Symphony explodes with the Bravura passages of this First Piano concerto.Richter provides the contrast by starting off in Pianissimo and quickly shifts the attention!Only to shift gears to some incredible Staccato playing that he only is capable of!How he alternates athletic vigour with balletic grace!Heaven shattering Demonic intensity when required alternating with incredible Bel Canto style fairy Talish innocence!!!Intense introverted contemplation and serenity alternating with Exhuberant Extroverted Swagger,supremely confident!Can anyone play piano like This?!!!Marvellous.Munch keeps the orchestra in top form through out.Full bodied Sound by RCA Engineers!Full credit to them!You cannot ask for a better deal.
This performance took place a Month after Richter's Recording of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with Erich Leinsdorf and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (In 1960,Richter toured USA for the First Time)
In addition you have Richter's inimitable Appasionata.No other Pianist Matches Richter's intensity of playing and raw power in this Tour De Force of a performance.
Give yourself a Lifetime Treat by buying this wonderful CD."