Reviews | RH-013 | Ruggiero Ricci -3- sonatas

27 August 2019 | Stephen Greenbank | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -3- sonatas   «This is the second of three sets I am in the process of reviewing dedicated to the great violinist Ruggiero Ricci, who died at the age of 94 at his home in Palm Springs, California in August 2012. Rhine Classics timed the releases for 2018, hence their billing as The Centenary Edition. [...] Beethoven is represented by Sonatas 1 and 10, and the pianists are Carlo Bussotti and Ferenc Rados respectively. Each is a partnership of equals, and listening to these glowing accounts makes one regret that the artist never set down a complete cycle. Also with Bussotti, there’s a compelling performance of Bloch's turbulent First Sonata, alternating ritualistic rhythmic intensity with passages of serene surrender. [...] It's a treat to have the Saint-Saëns’ First Sonata, a wonderful work, not programmed enough in my view. [...] This fascinating set offers a veritable feast, covering a wide variety of repertoire. I immediately warmed to the sound quality and balance of all the recordings. All told this is a worthy centenary tribute.» 
March 2019 | Rob Cowan | GRAMOPHONE (p. 98-99) | Rhine gold: an archive treasure trove   «Rob Cowan welcomes a historic label that has unearted some remarkable treasures. -- [...] The shimmering playing style of Ruggiero Ricci is very generously represented with three Centenary sets (he was born in 1918), the first  (six CDs: RH-008) devoted to concertos and including the w.p. of Ginastera's Concerto of 1963, dedicated jointly to Ricci and Bernstein, a gritty, outspoken piece fairlessy performed. Two accounts of Paganini's First Concerto (1958 under Thomas Schippers and 1975 under Heribert Esser) feature the crippingly difficult second version of Sauret's first-movement cadenza (1912), which Ricci throws off with athletic aplomb. Other works number [...] two excellent versions of the Brahm's Concerto (Henry Pensis and Eugen Jochum) plus an extremely flexible Sibelius Concerto under Hans Swarowsky. The other two Ricci sets are devoted respectively to sonatas (RH-013, four CDs, with the most gripping accounts of Bloch's First Sonata ever recorded) and 'showpieces' (also four CDs: RH-012) with a short sequence of Paganini Caprices recorded in New York in 1946 that for brilliance quite defies belief. [...] »
8 February 2019 | Jonathan Woolf | MusicWeb International | Ruggiero Ricci Centenary Edition -3- sonatas   «[...] this is a good example of Ricci’s sonata art, and perhaps even better is his Prokofiev [No.1], which he never did for a record label. There’s real resinous brusco drive here and the performance is also lyrically aware, and never devitalised by complacent phrasing. [...]  The peach here is the Saint-Saëns Sonata No.1 because he never otherwise recorded it. It’s not at all Gallic, so forget the shades of Thibaud or Merckel and enjoy instead a combustible and lively reading. Ravel’s Tzigane is powerfully projected. [...]  Heard in 24bit 96kHz mastering, this whole series is dedicated to and realized under the auspices of Ricci’s wife Julia and the tapes have been excellently restored by Emilio Pessina. Full track listings can be found in the most attractively produced booklet, which has a fine selection of images of Ricci.»