Cut from the Original EMI Master Tapes at Abbey Road Studios!
Gramophone critic Bryce Morrison eloquently described famed Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter as: "Idiosyncratic, plain-speaking, heroic, reserved, lyrical, virtuosic and perhaps above all, profoundly enigmatic, Sviatoslav Richter remains one of the greatest recreative artists of all time." Largely self-taught, Richter was an eccentric genius who often performed in darkened halls so the public were not distracted by any of his mannerisms: "I don't play for the audience, I play for myself, and if I derive any satisfaction from it, then the audience, too, is content."
His dislike of the recording process led to many of his performances being captured live, but once engaged, he took the process very seriously as his oeuvre attests. Teamed with Maazel and the Paris Orchestra, these 1969 studio sessions of Brahm's Concerto No. 2 for EMI were absolute magic. Cut at Abbey Road Studios from the original stereo analogue master tapes with the Neumann VMS82 lathe fed an analogue pre-cut signal from a specially adapted Studer A80 tape deck with additional ‘advance’ playback head, making the cut a totally analogue process.
“This is a magnificent performance. As sheer piano playing, for a start, however much you may think other aspects of the work matter more, you can hardly help enjoying the extraordinary range of the pianism, for there is scarcely a passage that doesn’t bring new delights. There is everything here; the power, the darting delicacy and, above all, the most beautifully expressive soft playing. I have a list as long as my arm of splendid things about this performance, from Maazel as well as from Richter. And not least is the piano tone, which is superbly caught in every way from brilliance to the most lovely quiet warmth.” - Original Gramophone Review/Trevor Harvey (1970)