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Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, May 2013

The ICA recital opens with a magisterial, commanding…powerfully conceived performance of Op 2 No.3, possibly the greatest Richter gave of this work. Its outer movements communicate great energy and life-force and the slow movement is a sublime meditation, which Richter further intensifies in an almost visionary way, to create a work that seems to occupy, in this performance, stylistically both the time when it was written but also to look forward many years ahead.

There’s refined limpidity in the first of the Op 126 Bagatelles and corresponding fire and energy in the Fourth, chosen precisely because this almost violent and disorientating juxtaposition. The sixth Bagatelle seems to fashion both these elements together. It opens here in truly fiery fashion but Richter then spins a rich cantabile, diffusing the incipient vehemence. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Michael Ullman
Fanfare, May 2013

This “Hammerklavier” is powerful, even electric. The first movement…is grand and exciting and sounds…even impetuous. That impetuousness is perfect for the Scherzo. It’s hard to imagine the ensuing Adagio sostenuto played more deliberately or beautifully. In its first bars, Richter seems to be making a complete statement that is nonetheless full of promise, and its unfolding is serious, coherent, and beautiful. It’s a magnificent rendition…these recordings are sublime, and well recorded…I unhesitatingly recommend this lengthy recital to anyone else. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Rob Cowan
Gramophone, March 2013

A new ICA CD recalls an all-Beethoven solo recital that Richter gave at London’s Royal Festival Hall in June 1975.

…[in] the early C major Sonata, Op 2 No 3…Richter makes the haunting Adagio sound like a a vivid premonition of the late, great slow movements. Play just the opening couple of minutes and note how the music breathes, the perfect placing and pacing of the notes…This is Richter at his most imposing, withdrawn and austere but also magnetic and passionately engaging. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Alan Becker
American Record Guide, March 2013

The stereo sound is very good…while any Richter performance is a worthy listening experience, there is greater satisfaction when the sound quality comes closest to matching the performance.

The Hammerklavier will be the big question for most of our readers. If reliability, accuracy, maturity, and expressive freedom are strong factors for you, this recording will satisfy you. Richter also finds a gentleness sometimes to temper the granitic force of much of the sonata.

The early Sonata 3 also gives much pleasure. His performance sounds in bold relief with clear textures and sforzati lending an effectively brusque manner. The extraordinary playing is crystalline, robust, and forceful. Brief multi-language notes and a catalog of other ICA recordings complete the picture of this mandatory Richter issue. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, December 2012

Richter makes nice work of the fugal presentation of the Scherzo, particularly as the second section allows him…to display his legato arpeggios in glorious colors.

The Op. 126 Beethoven Bagatelles represent many of his final thoughts in keyboard form. The experience of a musical kernel or atom suddenly generates volcanic heat or intensely compressed meditation. The G Major in Richter’s hands may well align itself to the musings in Op. 110, a combination of fantasy and rapt depth of feeling. After the whirlwind B Minor, the E-flat Major also starts off via a Presto tornado; then, in a liquid turn-about, it has Richter proffer, Andante amabile e con moto, a charming moment of ingenuous lyricism with a bravura coda.

For many of the Richter tours of the 1960s and 1970s, Beethoven’s Hamerklavier Sonata (1819) served as his calling-card. As opposed to the more flighty or reckless moments in the C Major Sonata and B Minor Bagatelle, the wholme of the B-flat Major Sonata seems wrought from one canny piece of classical marble. Taut and intelligent control palpably directs the monumental confrontation of titanic opposites of dramatic feeling. In spite of his granite sonority, Richter elicits the most exquisite and diaphanous of trills. If ever Beethoven might represent the musical incarnation of “Prometheus Unbound,” this high-minded, digitally-awesome performance of the Hammerklavier justifes the epithet. Along with the recent release of the Mindru Katz version of this sonata on Cembal d’amour, the Hammerklavier may claim to have found its true interpreters. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

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