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Sofia Recital Original recording remastered

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 13 2001)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B0000523QI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,697 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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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

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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Audio CD
Sofia, Bulgaria. February, 1958. There's a nasty cold going round. Communism's grayness is everywhere. People can barely afford to attend a concert, even at Warsaw Pact prices. But they come to hear a Ukrainian pianist of German extraction play a demanding program. And someone sets up a monophonic tape recorder. The microphone isn't as close to the piano as it ought to be.
Western civilization has lived now for forty-odd years with this recording of Moussorgsky's "Pictures." Some of us have auditioned seemingly countless other performances. But this is the one we always come back to. This is the ultimate, warts and all.
The first time it was released on CD, I was happy to see that the remainder of the concert had been added (the old Columbia LP contained only the "Pictures"). It's now chock full of shorter pieces, many thrice-familiar and a couple less so, all well done. Now we have 73 minutes of music.
Why do we all so cheerfully tolerate the below-par sound, the coughing, and the gaffs? Because the overall conception of the work, as realized by Richter, is so compelling. If you only know the "Pictures" from the orchestrated version, it's time for you to buy and get to know the original piano version. And this is the best one out there. Allow yourself to be swept away.
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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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Format: Audio CD
The first time I heard this CD, I was a little disappointed. After all, the sound is only as good as the little tape recorder that was recording the concert could produce back then. And on top of that, the audience was suffering from a flu epidemic and were therefore coughing fairly often. Did I mention the obvious finger slip in the opening of the "Pictures"? Well, after discovering all of these things for the first time, I was not counting on this record doing anything for me. Much less being one of my all time favorites. But that's what happened after the last note was struck...the performance made up for any minor setbacks and then some. There's a way an artist can affect you to where you not only don't mind any negatives (sound, noise, missed notes, etc.), but you almost enjoy them, realizing that that is part of the art. Horowitz could do it and so could Richter.
This CD is essential, but the only way you will see that is by listening to it and letting it sweep you away.
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