Sviatoslav Richter in the 1950s - Volume 6
Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887)
Petite Suite - excerpts; Au couvent [7:07]: Mazurka in C major [2:15]: Serenade [2:04]
Anatol LIADOV (1855-1914)
Etude and Canzonetta Op.48 [4:31]
Music Snuff Box Op.32 [1:55]
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Nocturne in D flat major Op.37 [6:13]
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Etude-tableau in C sharp minor Op.33 No.9 [2:33]
Prelude in G sharp minor Op.32 No.12 [2:19]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Rondo Op.52 No.2 [5:06]
Visions fugitives Op.22 Nos. 3-6, 8, 9,11,14,15 and 18 [9:02]
Five Pieces from Cinderella; Gavotte Op.95/2 [2:10]: Autumn Fairy Op.97 No.3 [1:03]: Orientalia Op.97 No.6 [1:36]: Great Waltz Op.102 No.1 [5:57]: The Quarrel Op.102 No.3 [2:59]
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Mazurka in E minor Op.25 No.3 [2:15]
Etude in C sharp minor Op.42 No.5 [2:39]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) - Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Erlkönig [4:06]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Prelude in C sharp minor Op.45 [4:30]
Sviatoslav Richter (piano)
rec. Moscow 4 April 1952; 10 January 1952 (Chopin); 8 December 1949 (Schubert-Liszt)
PARNASSUS PACD 96025 [71:06]

It was nearly seven years ago that I reviewed the first four in this series of discs from Parnassus (see review) and here we are, all these years later, with volume six. Most of the disc derives from a previously unreleased April 1952 recital given in Moscow, and that is supplemented by two other performances. Leslie Gerber’s notes express puzzlement as to the actual circumstances of the recital on 4 April, surmising that as it lasted about an hour it wasn’t likely to have been a complete concert, but was possibly a ‘tryout’ after a period of inactivity.

Whatever the exact circumstances surrounding the event, we are fortunate auditors. After a spoken introduction by an announcer - in lieu of written programme notes - we hear three of Borodin’s Petite Suite. The audience may be rather noisy, especially for the Spring - unless Moscow was freezing - but the playing is warm and verdant. Au couvent is especially touching, especially expressive, and superbly concentrated despite the off-stage distractions. The Mazurka is played with genial elegance. Next comes Liadov’s Etude and Canzonetta Op.48. Brief though the two pieces are, especially the Chopinesque Etude, they are played with typical eloquence and idiomatic control. Both the Borodin and Liadov are new to Richter’s discography.

The sequence that follows will be well enough known to admirers of the pianist. The noble outer sections of Glazunov’s Nocturne surround a passionately declamatory central section, whilst the Rachmaninov Etude-tableau is dynamic and tempestuous. His Rachmaninov is familiar, indeed also familiar from Parnassus - check PACD 96-001/002 for another performance of the Prelude in G sharp minor. He plays the Prokofiev Rondo with wintry wit, and then embarks on his favoured movements from the same composer’s Visions fugitives. If you know your Parnassus you’ll know that they have issued a similar sequence from a later, April 1958 recital (see the cited disc above for the number) and this earlier performance is just as richly characterised. That same disc also housed the Five Pieces from Cinderella from April 1958; Richter proves a touch quicker in the 1952 recital. More Liadov, and first class Scriabin follow. Especially good to have though is the Schubert-Liszt Erlkönig and the Chopin, which is apparently also new to his discography. The last two date from separate concerts given in 1949 and 1952 respectively.

There is a wealth of live Richter around but this one offers inducement in the shape of apparently never before issued performances. If you’ve already invested in the first five discs in this series, a sixth would seem to be a necessary purchase.

Jonathan Woolf

Never before issued performances.