Mozart, Fantasia KV475, Sonata KV457, Beethoven, Sonata 109* & op.110

Sviatoslav Richter (Piano);
Bochum & Kiel* 1992

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Conjuring up Mozart!

Wolfgang Schreiber
Hessischer Rundfunk 5/91

Richter’s Mozart C minor Fantasia is mainly slow and stoical, with the most impressive moment being the fateful return of the opening. In the attendant Sonata he also takes the long view, building the structure inexorably towards the final pages. These and the two Beethoven sonatas are remarkably clean in execution. Op. 109 begins with a masterly freedom of line and concludes in quiet, elevated majesty. Op. 110 is memorable above all for the rock-steady Scherzo and Trio, and Richter ensures that the entire slow movement and fugue feels like a single musical breath.

David Fanning
Record Review, 11/00

Recorded at recitals a week apart in Bochum and Kiel, these are examples of Richter in magnetic form. He plays Mozart’s mysterious C minor Fantasia with a commanding sense of its structural grandeur and extraordinary forward-looking harmonic palette. This is followed by the equally amazing C minor sonata, in which Mozart makes little effort to hide some secrets anguish or anger. Richter’s playing of the first movement, especially simplicity. On this form, he had few equals anywhere.
But even better are Beethoven’s Opp 109 and 110, two incomparable masterpieces which call for all the technical and interpretative powers their performer can summon. Both sonatas concentrate their essence into their finales, but Richter ensures that the preceding short movements are in no way overshadowed. There is a “fearful symmetry” in these performances that Beethoven must have intended but is only rarely realised like this.

Michael Kennedy
The Sunday Telegraph 11/00

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