Thursday, October 27, 2016

Piano Wizardry - Sviatoslav Richter... an Enigma?

He was a big man, with massive hands. He created the illusion of  'surrounding' the piano.
First thing you do after reading this blog, go to YouTube and enter Horowitz playing the C# minor Etude (Opus 10, No.4), of Chopin - then follow by entering Richter playing the same piece  - look at the performance marked "9 years ago" -   you will then understand what is meant by 'surrounding'  the piano.
There are those who question his approach to at least some of the masterworks he played. I include myself among them; however, no one in my memory made this huge instrument appear so small.
He was known for, arguably, possessing the largest repertoire of any of the reigning soloists. There were seasons during which he had, by memory, 15 different recital programs available on demand. He himself remarked that "I had about 80 programs in my head at one point."
During his teenage period, he played for any group that he could find; opera or ballet organizations especially. His sight reading abilities were the source of countless conversations.
A documentary made in Europe is titled (and available) "Richter-an Enigma."
Personally, I think of the producer of this documentary as perhaps a bit  too dramatic in his title.
There is no question about the private man that Richter was. He built a road with room only for him and   his eye-on-the - prize; specifically, his fusion with "that wonderful Yamaha" he preferred over other pianos, and the quest to uncover as many ways he could enter dialogue with -  through, arguably, the most arcane  language  available to us.
At times I am in controversy with this man.
But ALWAYS in awe...



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