Richter's Inimitable Mozart...
Life is a dicey gamble.
People are born into a specific space-time and family circumstances which influence the entire course of their lives: sometimes people can rise above their family circumstances; but no one can evade their earthly space-time.
And so the brilliant artist that was Sviatoslav Richter was both blessed and cursed in his space-time.
Born in Ukraine to German immigrants at the inception of the Russian Soviet political-economic system, his life was largely spent as a dutiful Soviet artist of the people--which means, it was his workaday job--nay, his duty to the State, to perform music for the people at any time, anywhere and everywhere behind the `Iron Curtain'.
The Scripture says, `Train children in the Way, and even when they are old they will not turn from it' (Prov. 22:6): this effect was not lost on Richter who learned (the hard way) to perform before a `live' audience in any venue on any instrument he was provided.
Even after gaining his freedom in later years Richter continued his `live' performances: it appears the Soviet idea that studio recording was bourgeois, counterrevolutionary, and anti-proletariat was so ingrained in him that even in old age he couldn't or wouldn't change his artistic method.
And this is the rub: one never knows what kind of recorded sound we'll get with a `live' Richter recording. We know that we'll always get brilliantly incisive revelatory pianistic artistry with Richter; but it's a gamble just how intrusive his audience will be on any given date.
Ergo (for example) his 1958 Sofia recording is insufferable; but at these later dates featured on this 2CD issue, digitally remastered, and largely edited of applause, these Austrian, Italian, and German audiences are fairly well-behaved with little coughing: bottom line, these Philips `Authorized Recordings' are about the best (read `cleanest') sounding Richter recordings available.
In later years as Richter continued to concertize, performances were simply billed as `a Richter date' without programmes, leaving the Master free to play what he liked as he felt at the space-time.
Curiously, in these later years we see Richter electing to perform evermore Mozart.
Richter's way with Mozart is categorically sublime: razor-sharp and deeply probing.
Although he didn't compile an entire Mozart cycle, Richter's Mozart corpus is an exquisite foil to the unusually heavy late-Brahmsian interpretations of Arrau, and to the abbreviated effervescent realizations of Glenn Gould.
re-released as `Richer the Master' series
Richter the Master, Vol. 2: Mozart
combine with the wonderful 1989 London performance
Richter in London: Mozart