P0879. SVIATOSLAV RICHTER: Richter plays Liszt, incl. Piano Concerto #2 in A (w.Ferencsik Cond. Hungarian State Orch.). (E.U.) WHRA 6043, Live Performances, 1958 & 1961, Moscow &Budapest. Transfers by Kit Higginson. - 5425008378022
"The glittering runs, trills and jaunty rhythms of the 'Fantasy on Hungarian Folk Melodies' are dispatched with ease by Richter, in that which was a prepared encore for the concert....Kevin Bazzana...has written a wide-ranging and interesting insert note that covers Richter's playing of Liszt as well as other features of the pianist's artistic approach to his repertoire."
- Kenneth Morgan, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Autumn, 2012
"Although the works of Liszt were not a central part of Richter’s repertoire, he was one of the twentieth century’s important Liszt interpreters and was deeply committed to those works which he did play. In this collection we can hear his delicacy, tenderness and great lyric power in the two Liebesträume and contrasting ferocity in the Mephisto Waltz No.1. These are new digital restorations."
“I don’t know if it is possible to explain to anybody the extraordinary phenomenon his personality and playing created. We can only hope that this can also be sensed through the recordings, for Richter is one of the few performers whose individuality is clearly manifest on a recording, regardless of its quality, and at each subsequent listening his playing gives a greater, more staggering experience than we are able to remember.”
- Dezso Ránki
“There were quite a number of great pianists in the Twentieth Century. There are even great pianists in the Twenty-First Century. But Richter stands alone, the purity and passion of his devotion to music, of his unique genius, obvious in every note. This was a man who said, in all modesty, just play the notes on the page. Yet he was a man able to transmit the spiritual essence of music, a man able to leap the chasm between self and other, between aesthetics and life. What a tale he might have told were he inclined to the verbal. But he was not. His comments about his music making were most often along the lines of, ‘I played well’, or, ‘I played poorly’. Neuhaus instantly recognized him, his first true genius pupil, when Richter arrived at the Moscow Conservatory at the unusually old age of 22. ‘He makes a nearly perfect interpretation as soon as he sees a work. I have never seen any other pianist that has wider artistic horizon than him’. But I don’t imagine Richter cared one way or the other. The music was all that ever mattered.
Someone described Richter as a sort of chameleon, taking on the hues of the music he’s performing. This is apt. I remember the first time I heard him play Grieg’s Lyric Pieces. It is the sweetest, simplest, most honest and heart felt playing of this wonderful music, and this from the man I had always considered the greatest Beethoven exponent on record. It was the same with Bach’s’ Well Tempered Clavier’. And with Schubert’s sonatas: absolute truthfulness to the music. Can you imagine a chef who is a master of every cuisine?
As for the music, he makes one use words like ‘greatest’. He washes away considerations and preconceptions through the sheer power and truthfulness of his playing. It is particularly difficult talking about a Richter performance. I recall a Russian expert speaking of Richter in terms of a spiritual teacher. Yes. That is closer to the truth than anything I’ve said.”
- Russell Lichter, THE STEREO TIMES, Jan., 2005