Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Svyatoslav Richter – Schubert Piano Sonatas

   In artistic output by Franz Schubert one can find works strictly connected to classical ideas of form, however many of them are exploring new era sensitivity. As his unusual talent can be observed in almost every composed piece, 21 piano sonatas is collection of more comprehensive works, giving a chance to understand what direction and the way he was trying to experience the capacity of sonata form. Two of Schubert’s Piano Sonatas recorded by Svyatoslav Richter in 1979 show how different these works can be. First of them Piano Sonata No. 9 in B Major Op. 147, D. 575 was composed in August 1917. The formal discipline of this work, nicely balanced ideas and means give the same kind of comfort as similar early sonatas by Beethoven. Opposite position takes work with typical romantic freedom of expression and free form, Piano Sonata No. 11 in F Minor, D. 625 finished one year later in September 1918.
   First difference on construction level is switching place of Scherzo – in Sonata No. 9 it is still 3rd movement, exactly as in classical sonata form, but in Sonata No.11 it is 2nd movement. But both are still four-part works. Sonata No. 9 has four-part order: Allegro ma non troppoAndanteScherzo. AllegrettoAllegro giusto. In Sonata No. 11 parts are in sequence: AllegroScherzo. AllegrettoAdagioAllegro. Inner differences are much more substantiate. Changes of tempo and dynamic contrasts in Sonata F Minor can remind us capriccio or fantasia, what makes this romantic sonata is widely open for individual interpretations.

Svyatoslav Richter – Schubert Piano Sonatas (1981)

   In late seventies Svyatoslav Richter placed Schubert’s Sonatas No. 9 and No. 11 in many programs he played all over the world. Many of these performances were recorded and published. Sonata No. 9 in 1979 was recorded live in Tokyo for RCA Victor and in London for BBC, Sonata in F Minor in Munich in 1978 and in 1979 in Tokyo and in London – first two recordings published by RCA Victor and London performance by BBC Legend. Live performances recorded for RCA Victor in Tokyo were published in the 1981 edition of Melodiya.
   Svyatoslav Richter was one of best pianists in 20th century and perfect interpreter of Schubert’s Sonatas. Legendary technical possibilities gave his performances varied layers of musical narration obtained by colorful sound, articulation and dynamics. This made remarkable readability of construction and deep emotional contents. Both Sonatas are clearly opposite and Svyatoslav Richter’s interpretations intensify impression of these features. In his performance Schubert’s Sonata B Major is intended to compensate various layers and to reduce contradictions in single structural whole. In Sonata F Minor basis for Richter’s interpretation were contrasting episodes and thematic transformations are building strongly emotional musical narration. Dramatic tension between these two Sonatas can be seen as the moment of defining change made between classical and romantic attitude. Richter’s performance is great opportunity to perceive this change.

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