This is the largest, most comprehensive, and most valuable collection currently available of the playing of one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Czech Radio seems to have recorded virtually everything Richter played during his frequent visits to Prague during a period of 34 years. Many of the highlights of the pianist's vast repertoire are included here, including 10 Beethoven Sonatas, two Concertos, and the "Diabelli" Variations, along with major works of Brahms, Chopin, Mozart, Ravel, Schubert, Schumann, and Scriabin.
This compilation features recordings made between 1950 and 1958 and “accompanies” the legendary pianist on his way to the Mount Olympus of piano playing. The repertoire ranges from Johann Sebastian Bach over German classicism and romanticism (Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann) to that gathering of great Russian composers – Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.
This live Appassionata, from a Moscow recital of 1959, is one of the most thrilling piano performances ever recorded. Sviatoslav Richter fills every moment of the first movement with intense drama, creates the illusion of total repose in the central variations, and then takes off in the finale with an exhibition of musical virtuosity and ever-increasing tension that becomes almost unbearably intense (and unbelievably fast and accurate). The studio Pathétique is quite fine, and the Fantasy (sung in Russian!) well performed by all but still rather quaint in its effect. But don't miss that Appassionata!