Dmitri Shostakovich: 6 Preludes & Fugues from Op.87 - Sviatoslav Richter LP

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As little as Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues conformed to Soviet musical dictates, these ambitious works were all the more highly regarded by the experts. What appeared as decadent and formalistic to Stalinist augurs is no less than an homage to Bach’s "Well-tempered Clavier" in the form of 24 miniatures, in the major and minor keys around the circle of fifths. Shostakovich dedicated his compositions to Tatiana Nikolayeva whom he got to know at the Leipzig Bach Festival in 1950. Little did he know that she would promote his musical gems right up until her very last breath, when she died on stage while performing his Opus 87 in 1993 in San Francisco.
Although Sviatoslav Richter never recorded the complete cycle of Preludes and Fugues, the present recording with his personal selection is one of the most distinguished interpretations of these works. Richter’s refined performance brings out the strict form found within the modern compositional style, allowing the biting sarcasm or ludicrous melodies to sparkle, and explores archaic rhythms. But Richter, the experienced romanticist, is also a master of Schumannesque expression in the form of languid melodiousness in the middle range of the keyboard. At long last this hard-to-find, yet easy to listen to, recording is available once more.

Recording: July 1963 in Paris

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