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1958 Sofia Recital [Original recording remastered]

Sviatoslav Richter Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

1. Pictures At An Exhibition: Promenade
2. Pictures At An Exhibition: I Gnomus
3. Pictures At An Exhibition: Promenade
4. Pictures At An Exhibition: II II vecchio castello - Promenade
5. Pictures At An Exhibition: III Tuileries
6. Pictures At An Exhibition: IV Bydlo
7. Pictures At An Exhibition: Promenade
8. Pictures At An Exhibition: Ballet des poussins dans leurs coques
9. Pictures At An Exhibition: VI Samuel Goldenberg und Schmuyle
10. Pictures At An Exhibition: Promenade
11. Pictures At An Exhibition: VII Limoges: le marche'
12. Pictures At An Exhibition: VIII Catacombae: Sepulchrum romanum - Cum mortius in lingua mortua
13. Pictures At An Exhibition: La Cabe sur des pattes de poule
14. Pictures At An Exhibition: La Grande Porte de Kiev
15. Moment Musical in C Major, D780 no.1
16. Impromptu In E Flat Major, D899 No,2
17. Impromptu in A Flat Major
18. Etude In E Major, Op.10 no.3
19. Valse oubliee No.1 In F Sharp Major
20. Valse oubliee No.2 In A Flat Major
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasures everywhere Dec 23 2003
Format:Audio CD
This disc was for me the motive to start collecting classical music. It's a registration of a Richter recital when he was in his (technical) prime. Beside the great Mussorgsky, that needs no recommendation, there is much more present. Ever heard Liszt's Feux Follets at this speed? Wow. Or the mid-section of Chopin's out-played Etude, played with ravishing anger? Rachmaninov's melancholic Prelude maybe? These immortal renditions of Schubert's Impromptus? My favourite two pieces are the Liszt waltzes, especially the second one. This is such funny music... What did Liszt actually mean when he composed them? Were these waltzes meant to ridiculize the Straussies? Or was it just a tribute to them? Whatever, this is great fun. I seldom heard Richter play with so much humour, by the way. Unfortunately the disc is out of stock currently, but it's still available in a 5-cd box set called 'The essential Richter.' It's slightly more expensive, but you'll get some great pianism in return.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Concerts are rarely as brilliant as this. March 19 2001
Format:Audio CD
Early in 2001, in their "50 Great Recordings" series, Philips reissued the 1958 Sofia recital by Sviatoslav Richter. You may also acquire the recital in the 2 CD "Great Pianists of the Century" series where it is in tandem with Richter playing Prokofiev piano sonatas. I have neither heard that latter release nor ever heard any issue of this Sofia recital before, so I listened to it with "fresh ears".
Reviews here and elsewhere warned me that the sound was barely tolerable, and that audience coughing was too intrusive. Well, I can report that, once the "Pictures" begin, poor sound quality is forgotten. This is a riveting performance. The piano's dynamic range is well enough suggested, the recording quality is better in the other items, and I was not disturbed by any audible background hum. To those who complain about audience coughs I say: firstly, attend more concerts yourself and become accustomed to this phenomenon and, secondly, regard such sounds as reminders of a live performance before a large audience.
No one is likely to attend any live performance as brilliant as this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sharing his Artistic Spirit June 18 2004
Format:Audio CD
This recording was made in 1958, a time when live performances were recorded more frequently than is the case today. Richter holds nothing back, playing with abandonement to the point where the listener shares in Richter's artistic spirit. That is why this will always be the recording to return to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Look for hidden gem July 19 2002
Format:Audio CD
This performance is remarkable, so I will not even bother to repeat the other reviewers' praise. But I will point out that the "Pictures" is not the only reason to buy the CD. I keep going back to an absolutely haunting rendition of Chopin's Etude in E, op. 10 no. 3. Really, the 4:21 minutes worth of that one piece is reason enough to give this a listen. Richter makes the almost schmaltzy Chopin become the emotional force that he truly is when played appropriately (i.e., with restraint). Also, some people seem to mind the recording quality of the performance: I actually prefer the tension it creates. It also gives it a more human and potentially fragile quality, as if you have to savor it that much more because it may fall apart at any moment. If you're one of those people who actually likes the fact that you can hear Glenn Gould humming while he's playing, then you'll appreciate this recording as well. Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive recording, greatly improved sound Nov. 10 2001
By pm444
Format:Audio CD
This legendary recording captures Sviatoslav Richter in a live recital in Sofia in 1958. I first heard it on the DG "Panorama" double CD of selections of Mussorgsky's works. The sound was quite poor: the piano was tinny, there was noticeable surface noise that came and went, and the dynamic range was compressed and lacked depth. Still, the performance was so compelling that I found myself listening to it over and over again. Even after buying the Byron Janis recording on Mercury with much better sound, I missed the intensity and power of Richter's performance.
So when this newly remastered version became available, I immediately bought it, hoping that it would be an improvement. The sound of this new remastering is what this performance has deserved all along. The surface noise is almost totally gone, and the sound of the piano is much more natural, without the dry, compressed sound of the previous version. The audience is still noisy, with coughs throughout, but you get used to it after a couple listenings. The same is true of the infamous fluffed note in the opening; it's there, it's grating the first few times, then it almost takes on a certain charm all its own.
But the real power of this recording is the incredible performance by one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Some have said that this is the greatest piano recording ever made of anything, period. While that is perhaps an overstatement, it's certainly not far from the truth. This is an essential recording, not just because it's the definitive recording of "Pictures", but because of the power and beauty of Richter's artistry.
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