Album: Sviatoslav Richter Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 3 & 29; Bagatelles Op 126 (ICA)


This 1975 Royal Festival Hall recital by Sviatoslav Richter is rightly regarded as a landmark of 20th-century piano interpretation.

Right from the start of the "Piano Sonata No 3 in C major", there's a great declamatory authority about his delivery of the opening Allegro con brio, modulating into delicate fragility for crucial phrases, and a bravura moment, towards the end of the movement, where the momentum suddenly relaxes into a more miasmic mood, as if mired in fog. Richter skilfully negotiates the four movements to an uplifting finale, before tackling the "Piano Sonata No 29 in B flat major" like a mountaineer scaling an imposing range of peaks. Particularly impressive is the long third movement Adagio, like rain falling softly on the soul.

Download: Piano Sonata No 3 in C major; Piano Sonata No 29 in B flat major