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Richter Scriabin/M&A

Jed Distler

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

This all-Scriabin recital recorded live in Warsaw in October, 1972 captures the legendary Sviatoslav Richter in staggering form. He opens with a judiciously varied selection of Preludes, whose laser clarity and jaw-dropping digital control make most mortal pianists sound thick as a brick. The pianist takes incredible chances with the Second Sonata’s whirlwind finale, and easily transcends the knottier passages sprinkled throughout the Op. 42 Etudes. Granted, Richter’s ethereal trills in the Ninth Sonata don’t possess Horowitz’s jackhammer intensity, but few pianists match Richter’s light-fingered speed in the demanding Fifth Sonata, where he achieves miracles of color and dynamic shading largely through finger and hand balance, with little sustain pedal. A few wrong notes don’t matter in playing of this magnitude. The sound is not particularly alluring, but non-specialists will find it perfectly listenable. If you want more incisive engineering, go to Richter’s Prague Scriabin Second and Fifth on Praga, also from 1972, or the mesmerizing 1962 Fifth on Deutsche Grammophon. No Richter or Scirabin buff should be without this disc, newly reissued in Music & Arts’ mid-price Merit line.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN - Sonatas Nos. 2, 5, & 9; Selected Preludes from Op. 11, 13, 37, 39, 59, & 74; Six Etudes from Op. 42; Poeme Op. 52 No. 1

    Soloists: Sviatoslav Richter (piano)

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