Documentary

Richter, The Enigma (I)

A moving testimony

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Sviatoslav Richter — Pianist

Program notes

Posthumous memories of the greatest pianist of all time.

At the end of his life – he died on August 1st, 1997, the great Russian pianist agreed to talk in front of a camera to Bruno Monsaingeon and to recollect his beginnings. In a conversation interspersed with fascinating archive footage, Richter presents us with his memoirs, released posthumously.

Richter was born in Ukraine in 1915. He decided to become a pianist when he was 15, playing before a few friends. Richter also evokes his unusual apprenticeship to the piano in his meeting with the famous professor Heinrich Neuhaus and with the singer Nina Dorliac who became his companion. But Richter, like anyone, had his issues. He had difficult family issues that never healed, and his presence at Stalin's funeral was a controversy.

His recollections include memories of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, who were often his partners and friends, David Oïstrakh, Benjamin Britten, Serge Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, whom we discover with him in these archives never released before.

Composed of two seventy-seven-minute episodes, this film is among those that leave a lasting impression.

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