Two world-class pianists who died during the 1990’s are the subject of my DVD of the Month for July, 2016. They are Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and Sviatoslav Richter. What can I say? When you are a great performer, it is appropriate that your reputation should live on.
Michelangeli and Richter: Two Titans of the Keyboard perform the following works on this recording:
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2 No. 3, by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
Intermezzo in E minor, Op. 116 No. 5, by Sviatoslav Richter
Piano Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 14
Alborada del gracioso (Miroirs No. 4)
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995) was, paradoxically, one of the most celebrated and one of the most reclusive pianists of his time. His amazing technique and astounding musicianship earned him attention early on as the undisputed winner of the 1939 Geneva International Music Competition.
To the frustration of his public, Michelangeli’s studio recordings were few and his concert appearances sporadic: his brief recital for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was appropriately titled “A Most Rare Event”. It features a sterling performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2, No. 3.
Sviatoslav Richter (1915–1997) was a pianist in the Great Russian Tradition, yet there was nothing traditional about this master of the keyboard. Few pianists have had the technical, emotional, and intellectual range that Richter brought to his performances.
In 1964, Richter was invited to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Toronto studios for a videotaping of a recital program. The main work of the program, Prokofiev’s Second Piano Sonata in D minor, is a perfect vehicle for a demonstration of Richter’s art, combining, as it does, passages of thrilling virtuosity contrasted with some of Prokofiev’s most lyrical pages.
On this DVD, the Sonata is flanked by Brahms’ lovely E minor Intermezzo and two contrasting works by Ravel: the shimmering impressionistic tapestry of Jeux d’eau and the brilliant Spanish-flavored Alborado del Gracioso.
Here is Mr. Michelangeli, performing the sonata number 3 in C-Major by Beethoven: