P0119. SVIATOSLAV RICHTER: Sonata #44 in C (Haydn); Sonata #11 in B (Beethoven); SVIATOSLAV RICHTER & ANDREAS LUCEWICZ: Variations & Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven (Reger) . (Germany) Classics Live LCL 482, Live Performance, 3 July, 1998. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 4015512004824
“We must be grateful to Live Classics for the label’s series of recordings documenting Sviatoslav Richter’s last public performances in generally excellent sound. The Haydn and Beethoven Sonatas have appeared on the label before, coupled with Bach’s Capriccio on the Departure of his Beloved Brother. The two Sonatas were recorded at a July 3, 1994 concert in Bavaria and, with the release of this record, we now have the complete recital. Instead of the Bach we are offered Reger’s massive Beethoven Variations., based on the lyrical Bagatelle, Op. 119/11: Andreas Lucewicz plays the first piano part while Richter has chosen to, as it were, play second fiddle.
Richter recognised Haydn’s unique genius and revered his music, and this reading of the composer’s improvisatory Sonata 29 is pure magic. Listeners remembering his mercurial rendering of Beethoven’s Sonata 11 from the early 1960s (Philips) will find the approach broader and more expansive here. Richter’s interpretations became more intimate and somewhat reserved as he grew older. Here is a vital but mature view of this extraordinary work: simple, direct and profound.
Reger’s great gift was to make the simple complex, and he develops Beethoven’s seedling into a mighty oak. Did I just say that Richter became more intimate and reserved in his old age? Well after listening to this powerfully dynamic reading I am convinced some sort of rejuvenation had taken place. This is towering achievement. The sound, a bit clattery, is still very good. Even if you own the alternate release of the Haydn and Beethoven (Live Classics 461) the duplication is worth it for the Reger. In any event, don’t miss this record part of the ever-growing recorded legacy of one of the truly great pianists of this or any century.”
- Allen Linkowski, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July, 1999
"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. 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 is performing. This is apt. I remember the first time I heard him play Grieg 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 Sonatas: absolute truthfulness to the music. Can you imagine a chef who is a master of every cuisine?
As for the music, 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