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Byline: Musica Viva

Pianist Sonya Lifschitz is an accomplished Ukrainian-Australian performer, educator, researcher, and collaborator of international repute. Her playing has been described as "a life force of extraordinary density and capacity", which you’ll have the opportunity to hear when she presents a solo recital on 27 October 2021 as a part of our Sydney Morning Masters season.

For our 12 Days of Musica Viva celebration, Sonya detailed an account of her favourite albums recorded by performing giants, such as Richter, Gould and Fleisher. Sonya has a love for music that is clear not only when she herself performs, but is also evident in her astute observations and extensive knowledge of her most treasured classical recordings. Listen to Sonya's selections below, and read her in-depth take on what makes these albums so brilliant.

Sviatoslav Richter: Schubert Sonatas D.958 and D.960

Richter’s legacy as one of 20th-century’s greatest pianists is well-documented by his vast recording catalogue, and his place in the top tier of classical music pantheon is undisputed. For many pianists even today, Richter’s performances, characterised by their monolithic monumentality, Apollonian purity, intoxicating tone, and astonishing structural cohesion, are still the benchmark for much of classical repertoire. Schubert’s last piano sonata, considered one of the pinnacles of piano repertoire and a work I have performed many times in my life, has been recorded by many of world’s greatest pianists. Yet for me, none (save Leon Fleisher’s late recording of it) capture the inexplicable, transcendent beauty and sublime purity of this piece the way Richter does. This is one of the slowest recordings of the work, and it achieves eternity, cosmic tranquillity, metaphysical heights and aching tenderness.