The Music Room
His personality was greater than
the possibilities offered to him by
the piano, broader than the very concept
of complete mastery of the instrument.
The big room where Sviatoslav Teofilovich used to
play and rehearse with other musicians contains two
Steinways, a few armchairs, two antique Italian floor
lamps (a present from the Mayor of Florence), a tapestry and some paintings. On the stand of one of the
pianos is Schubert’s Piana Sonata No. 3 in E (Funf
Klavierstucke. D. 459) open at page 48. It was
brought from the dacha in Nikolina Gora, where
Richter was living in July 1997 and preparing for an
autumn concert that was destined never to take place.
The pianist died on 1 August, 1997.
On a stand beside the piano there were usually
reproductions of art works that Richter associated
with the music he happened to be working on at the
moment. Chopin’s nocturne in C minor reminded him
of De.lacroix, and he used to say that Schumann’s
music «has something of Goya in it... a sense of darkness and mystery, like a painting by the Old Master.» When he was playing Schumann’s Vienna Carnaval,
Richter thought of Schiele’s drawings, while Brahms
reminded him of Bruegel, and Scriabin’s Prelude in
C sharp minor of Malevich’s costume designs for
Matiushin’s opera-mysteria Victory over the Sun.
Richter never taught, but when he was playing
with young musicians such as Natalia Gutman, Oleg
Kagan and Yuri Bashmet or rehearsing with them at
home, he involuntarily became their teacher, leading
them after him, infecting them with his talent, erudition and devotion to music. He was their «university».
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