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.
Pierre Boulez

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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A rehearsal with the Borodin Quartet
A rehearsal with the Borodin Quartet

Sviatoslav Richter International Piano Competition

Bolshaya Nikitskaya str., 46/17, bld.1,
Moscow 121069, Russia
phone +7 (095) 290-56-32
phone/fax: +7 (095) 291-46-72