DIVOX proudly presents a re-release these recordings of Sviatoslav Richter’s live performances in Tokyo in 1981, which were unavailable for several years.
The young Sviatoslav Richter first became acquainted with Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 6 in A-Major in a private circle of musicians, where the 49- year-old composer presented it to his colleagues. Richter was so thrilled by «the uncommon clarity of the style and the constructional perfection of the music» that he studied it during the summer and gave the first concert performance on October 14 at a recital which also featured his teacher Heinrich Neuhaus. The composer and the pianist, 22 years his junior, maintained an unbroken contact from the moment of their first meeting. In early 1943, Richter also performed the world premiere of the Seventh Piano Sonata, and, at Prokofiev’s 55th birthday in April 1946, he performed the complete triptych – the Sonatas No. 6, 7 and 8 – in concert for the first time. Prokofiev thanked him for his commitment in 1947 by dedicating to him the Sonata No. 9, Op. 103. However, the world premiere was delayed for several years. Richter first performed it on the occasion of the composer’s 60th birthday, April 23, 1951; Prokofiev, already marked by illness, was only able to follow the performance by telephone from his sick-bed. Incidentally, on the very same day, the executive producer of this recording and founder of DIVOX, Wolfram M. Burgert, was born.
The recording featured here, was first released on the “Memoria” label 25 years ago. The recordings were made by representatives of Yamaha, who had won permission from Richter to record the concerts at Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Hall, using merely a single cassettetape-recorder. The resulting distortions and many of the background noises have been eliminated in a painstaking process of reconstruction and restoration.