Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonatas Op.2 No.1, Op.10 No.3, Op.14 No.1, Op.26
Bagatelle in G, Op.126 No.1
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat, Op.61
Waltzes Op.34 No.3, Op.70 No.3
Mazurkas Op.63 No.3, Op.67 No.3, Op.68 No.3, in A minor Op. Posth.
Etude in C sharp minor Op.25 No.7
Scherzo No.4 in E, Op.54
Sviatoslav Richter (piano)
Recorded in concert October 1976
Region Code 0, Colour. No other information provided
PARNASSUS PDVD 1201 [125:00]
Masterwork Index: Beethoven piano sonatas 1-8
There are performances from two filmed recitals in this two hour DVD. The
was given in Moscow on 10 October 1976, from which come Beethoven’s
No.1 sonata and all the Chopin pieces. Five days later Richter performed
remainder of the Beethoven items.
The concerts took place at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
are three large microphones on stands in front of Richter, directly in
of the stalls, and several cameras placed throughout the auditorium. I
work out where one of the back-of-stage cameras could possibly be, as
not visible during front-on shots, so maybe other shots were included, or
there was some first rate camera camouflage in the Great Hall that day.
Parnassus makes clear that the video quality is ‘limited by Soviet
of the time’. I would add that the footage looks as if it’s
taped on video from television transmission. The colour is rather grainy
lacks the kind of definition expected today. It’s also flecked with
VHS detritus familiar if one runs one’s own videos from that time.
not terrible, but prospective viewers should be aware that the tape is
on for forty years old now. The sound quality is certainly pretty
For the 10 October concert Richter was dressed in a sober blue suit. If
recording quality had been better the contrast between his suit and the
flooring of the Great Hall might have been stronger. But we can enjoy
Beethoven performances, with an especially enjoyable cantabile in
slow movement of Op. 2 No.1 (a sonata Parnassus habitually attributes,
and elsewhere, to Op.1). The vision is touch darker but the sound is just
touch more stabilised and focused on 15 October so the other Beethoven
can be heard a touch better. Here Richter wears a bow tie. The camera
some of which, like the panning auditorium ones, are a bit crude,
allow one access to some of the pianist’s range of facial gestures,
the familiar Richter shrug and gurn. The playing is crisp, forthright
in the left hand setting up energy and dynamism. His Chopin recital is of
material, Waltzes and Mazurkas, all of which are played with commitment
energy. The Waltz in F, Op.34 No.3 goes like the clappers, whilst the
in E flat minor, Op.63 No.3, lilts rather more convincingly.
Clearly, this is a specialist release for Richter adherents, but they will
admirable performances in decent sound and tolerable vision.