The supreme Richter package
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 04/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this from England before it became available in USA and it sounds just as good here as there. This set packages three of Richter's most supreme and highly-regarded recordings -- the Beethoven Concerto No. 1 with Munch, the Brahms Concerto 2 with Leinsdorf, and a few other goodies including his 1960s vintage Beethoven "Apassionata" sonata.
While these recordings, all made in the 1960s during Richter's "new" period in the West, will never be mistaken for new millenium digital recordings, they are all more than adequate. None have the clangy wow that accompanied many of Richter's sonatas in the "Great Pianists of the Century" series, although to achieve this the technicians had to record them as a noticeably lower level.
The artistry that is Richter is always key, in command and on display is these masterworks. It remains a mystery to me how Richter could be the archtype poet in the Beethoven concerto -- while Munch and the Boston Symphony pounded away mercilessly in the orchestral tutti -- with the result being one of history's most famous and endearing Beethoven recordings. Competing styles don't mesh most of the time. Here, they created a masterwork people cannot do without.
The Brahms is, of course, the hardboiled hard driven version from 1962 with Leinsdorf and the Chicago Symphony. This miraculous recording was made when Richter displayed more wide-ranging temparament in recordings, going from manic driven allegros to poetic slow movements with keyboard embellishment, then back to high drama for the conclusion.
Compared to the molasses in January approach by most German pianists of the day, this was a startling recording when it first appeared. It is still a winner and among the best recordings ever of this music more than 40 years later.
It is very distant from the Richter we got to know at the end of his career when he played recitals in darkened halls, always using the score. Many of these performances have been saved for posterity on the Live Classics label and show a more introspective performer, one given to broader speeds and more texturized playing sansembellishment.
It is, in essence, the difference between the temperamental genius age 40-45 and the thoughtful old man age 80-85. Both approaches are valid for the most documented recording artist of the 20th century and the former style in on display here. If the price is right, you cannot find a more telling set for this performer."
The Beethoven 1st
A general reader | Irvine, CA | 03/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This WAS a great recorded performance, but in the re-mastering, the 1st and 3rd movts of the Beethoven seems sped up and the balance as engineered between the orchestra and the piano over favors the orchestra. I have long ago lost my original LP, alas."