Sunday 1 March 2009


He was born on this day in 1810 - here's a little something to mark the occasion...


  1. This demonic performance from his middle years. I went to hear him toward the end of his life when he began to personify the rather prickly, unsmiling image that had grown up around him. He played a Yamaha Grand, at that time a highly suspect choice, and the house and stage lights were ordered off, the piano being lit by candlelight. He barely acknowledged either the welcoming applause at the start, nor the at-times thunderous outpourings that followed the various pieces, his desultory bow being linked to a grim Beethovenian scowl. Though past his very best, he produced sounds that were at times ravishing, but if any of the audience had harboured a notion that he was playing for them, it quickly became clear that here was a man inhabiting is own world, and his own sound world.

  2. I vividly remember going to one of Richter's last concerts at the RFH. I liked the sepulchral gloom in the hall; it helped me concentrate on the pianist, and I have often wished that other pianists would give it a go.

    Richter (who I am always thought looked more like a bullish prop forward than a concert pianist) was by all accounts a very shy man and his perfunctory acknowledgment of the adulation that he invariably received from audiences was probably the result of his shyness rather than misanthropy.

    For anyone interested in Richter I warmly recommend the DVD Richter: The Enigma, which shows what a sensitive and troubled soul he was.