Richter, the Enigma [VHS]

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Manufacturer Description

This exemplary 154-minute documentary about the great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter includes some wonderful archive footage and a lot of worthwhile discussion of one of the more remarkable 20th-century concert careers. Richter was an extraordinary combination of poet, mystic, and superb technician, equally at home with the spiritually ruminative moments of Johann Sebastian Bach and the spectacular display pieces of Franz Liszt. He was also in an interesting place at an interesting time--able to interpret the works of Prokofiev and Shostakovich when they were freshly minted, and able to play alongside other great virtuosi like David Oistrakh and Mstislav Rostropovich (there is some wonderful footage here of the three of them performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto under Karajan). Richter was as fine a soloist with great orchestras as he was an accompanist (we see him with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in Hugo Wolf's quirky song "Der Feierreiter"), but his true love was the recital. Much of his long career was taken up with an endless pilgrimage around the civic centers of Soviet Russia, spreading the word of great music. --Roz Kaveney

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