Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 5 in G major, K. 283
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: Les saisons (The Seasons), Op. 37b
V. May: May Nights
VI. June: Barcarolle
XI. November: Troika
I. January: By the Fireside
Sergei Rachmaninov: Etudes-tableaux, Op. 39
No. 3 in F sharp minor: Allegro molto
No. 4 in B minor: Allegro assai
Alexander Scriabin: Piano Sonata No. 9 in F major, Op. 68, "Black Mass"
Piano Sonata No. 9 in F major, Op. 68, "Black Mass"
Sergey Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 4 in C minor, Op. 29
I. Allegro molto sostenuto
II. Andante assai
III. Allegro con brio, ma non leggiere
“Recorded live at Richter's beloved Aldeburgh in 1966, this issue shows an incomparable pianist at the height of his powers. Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine a more authentic yet personal voice in Prokofiev's Fourth and Scriabin's Ninth Sonatas. Richter carved out a special niche in Prokofiev's Fourth Sonata, the most cryptic and ambiguous of the series written in a language that can seem oddly exclusive and inaccessible to those born outside Russia. No other pianist has approached Richter in this work, in his capacity to clarify so much awkward writing while at the same time (in the central Andante assai) acknowledging a wholly individual utterance full of dark confidences and, in the finale, a forced gaiety alive with stiff virtuoso challenges resolved in a mock-triumphant coda. Few performances of the Scriabin have been more stealthily mobile or breathed a more satanic menace. For once, directions such as avecune douceur de plus en plus caressante et empoisonnée are made meaningful rather than merely idiosyncratic or eccentric. Yet, in more amiable territory Richter is enviably poised, less remote or enigmatic in Mozart's G major Sonata, K283, than one might have expected. His opening Allegro is gently flowing and is memorably contrasted with his brilliantly vivacious finale. The recordings have come up excellently, allowing us to appreciate Richter's range, unique empathy in Russian music and endlessly thoughtprovoking musicianship in all their glory.”