Sviatoslav Richter in Warsaw     (Parnassus PACD 96053)
Item# P0886
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Sviatoslav Richter in Warsaw     (Parnassus PACD 96053)
P0886. SVIATOSLAV RICHTER: Sviatoslav Richter in Warsaw: The Scriabin Recital. Parnassus PACD 96053, Live Performance, 27 Oct., 1972. - 606345004217


“Richter began our interview by saying, ‘I cannot understand why it is so unusual to play Scriabin in America. In Russia he is part of the mainstream of musical life... our heritage. We grow up with him, are nurtured by him, nourished on him. We absorb him, as soon as we are born. I cannot possibly remember when I got interested in Scriabin. He was part of life, always. I was nine when I heard my first big Scriabin, the ‘Poem of Ecstasy’ in Odessa. Neuhaus influenced me, too. He enlarged my vision. I shall never forget as long as I live how he played the Tenth Sonata... never will I forget that. I don't like it for myself. I play five of the ten sonatas -the Second, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth - and hundreds of other Scriabin pieces... pieces I have never performed anywhere in public. I keep them to myself. Too much Scriabin isn't right. He is too difficult, too subjective, for prolonged performance. Ah, la decadence. I adore Scriabin, and hate Scriabinists. Scriabinists are tiresome people, and I stay away from them. What a great composer Scriabin was. You can say he had his weaknesses, but I don't like to talk about them. He had tremendous strengths. Why concern ourselves with his weaknesses? Of course, you can say he is salon, lightweight and flattering to society ladies and gentlemen in some of his early works, or that he derived from Chopin. But you take his very first etude [c-sharp minor, Opus 2, written when Scriabin was sixteen]. Ah, what heart... Das herz. What strengths he had! The Ninth is bad nature. What about an earthquake, when the ground splits open? That's not good. But please don't misunderstand me. I am speaking my opinions, my feelings, my images that I see in my head when I play. These are not principles or laws to be followed ... I think that the Ninth and Tenth Sonatas purged themselves of all uncleanliness, or wickedness. Scriabin moved with them onto a higher level. He had to do something new after the Sixth and Seventh, and he did... then he died.”

- Faubion Bowers, SATURDAY REVIEW, 12 June 1965

“After Stalin’s death in 1953, the Soviet Union lifted a bit of the Iron Curtain to allow some major midcareer Russian artists to make debuts in America. Among them were the violinist David Oistrakh and the pianist Emil Gilels, both in 1955. Notably missing was the towering pianist Sviatoslav Richter, an artist of, in the best sense, demonic powers, whose performances combined stunning technique, myriad colorings and fierce integrity. Every time Gilels was lavished with praise by musicians in America, he would offer thanks, then add, ‘Wait until you hear Richter!’

…when Richter auditioned at Moscow Conservatory for the pianist Heinrich Neuhaus, who would become his most influential teacher, Neuhaus, deeply impressed, whispered to a nearby student that he thought young Richter a ‘musician of genius’.”

- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 Sept., 2015