These two performances derive from a concert given at the 16th International Pharos Chamber Music Festival, Cyprus, in 2016. The performers involved clearly play together regularly, certainly at Pharos, apart from their impressive individual credentials. Some, like Yevgeny Sudbin and Alexander Chausian, have well established partnerships on record.
With the proliferation of more and more recording labels and still more ensembles getting the opportunity to record their work, it is obviously increasingly difficult to bring anything truly original when performing works from the standard repertoire. Unfortunately, this fact may lead to some questionable performance decisions in striving for originality. Such seems to be the case with the Leopold String Trio and Marc-André Hamelin and their performance of the Brahms piano quartets.
Sviatoslav Richter is still regarded by nearly the entire piano community as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. Known for the “depth of his interpretations, his virtuoso technique, and his vast repertoire,” many of his recordings are still the benchmark recordings of famous repertoire. The present edition of Richter’s interpretations from 1948 to 1963 even has some premieres to offer, taken from hitherto unreleased live recordings. Special guests on this release include the Borodin Quartet, Nina Dorliac, Mstislav Rostropovich. Profil Edition Günter Hänssler has already released numerous albums featuring Richter’s performances of works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. The recordings that make up this edition are devoted to the composers Schumann, Brahms and Reger.
Bernard Haitink conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Brahms’s great orchestral works, including the complete symphonies. The concertos feature three great soloists: pianist Claudio Arrau, violinist Henryk Szeryng, and cellist Janos Starker. "No one, I trust, will deny that Arrau has lived with, wrestled with, and in a truly terribly way ’known’ the D minor Concerto for more years than most of us can consciously recall. Where contemporary pianists have often tended to refine or domesticate the concerto, withdrawing it from the world of heroic endeavour, Arrau has always done the reverse. No pianist, apart possibly from Serkin in his several recordings, has communicated so formidably the work’s scope: its seriousness and its anxious, tragic mood. Often Arrau makes free with the text. But the vision is huge, the technique astonishing. Haitink is a worthy accompanist."