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CD Reviews: Never mind the sound quality, listen to the powerful music.

Byline: Reviewed by Christopher Morley

Sviatoslav Richter Plays Scriabin, Myaskovsky, Franck, Prokofiev (Urania RM 11.910) Whether the other offerings attract you or not, this disc is a must-have for lovers of Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto. This youthfully iconoclastic work receives an appropriately upfront interpretation from Sviatoslav Richter, at the time of this 1952 recording just coming into his stride, yet relishing the interludes of desperate tenderness, too (and what an awesome technique).

Richter's acute intensity finds a willing response from the Moscow Youth Orchestra (one wonders how many of these players went on to great things in their own right), well-drilled under the martinet baton of Kyrill Kondrashin. I have to confess an interest here, having loved this interpretation since buying it on a cheap SAGA LP in the early 1960s. The sound quality was awful then, and not brilliant now on this USD24 Restoration System -but the performance of this exhilarating music bowls the listener along.

And the rest? A gripping account of Myaskovsky's single-movement Third Piano Sonata, leavening an element of jazz into generally Scriabinesque fraughtness, magisterial readings of 12 Etudes by the latter composer, and a compelling performance, again with Kondrashin and the MYO, of Cesar Franck's quirky symphonic poem for piano and orchestra Les Djinns.

As stated, sound quality is by no means perfect, and audience applause might become a bore (but who knows, Stalin and even Prokofiev himself might have been clapping away there). But these searing performances of powerful music are ones to live with. HHHHH To buy this CD for pounds 10.99, inc p&p, call our Music Line on 01634 832 789
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 31, 2004
Previous Article:CD Reviews: Jazz CDs.
Next Article:CD Reviews: Beethoven, Mozart, Bridge - BBC Legends: Britten, Menuhin, Gendron (BBCL 4134-2).

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