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Sviatoslav Richter:
Notebooks and Conversations
Bruno Monsaingeon
Translated by Stewart Spencer

Book Description | Table of Contents


"Few in the 20th century loomed so tall artistically but lived more eccentrically than the late Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. . . . Was there ever a more singular musician?. . . In what initially appears to be a mere appendix of the book, there is the most insightful, engaging part of all: excerpts from Richter's personal notebooks. . . . This is the heart of music-making and an artistic life. To understand [Richter] is to better understand all of those individualists of the keyboard."--David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"[In this well-made book] . . . Richter appears part monk, part showman, part unworldly, part shrewd. . . . Richter's notebooks, reproduced in the second half of the book, slag off, with gusto, other musicians, recordings, conductors, and, to be fair, himself."--Richard Coles, Times Literary Supplement

"Enlivened throughout by Richter's intelligence and his eccentric humor, particularly in the last section, a diary where he has made notes on the music he is listening to. . . . Characteristically, his sternest criticisms are reserved for his own recordings."--The New Yorker

"Quintessential Richter . . . highly cultivated, perceptive but caustic, particularly about what he perceived as superficiality and egotism. . . . Determination, sincerity, strength in abundance. Everything about Richter seemed outsized."--Michael Kimmelman, The New York Review of Books

"This book is almost impossible to put down. . . . The strength of Richter's personality, his obstinacy, and his candour, leap from every page."--Andrew Clark, Financial Times

The book will . . . be of interest to anyone interested in Richter's ideas and personality."--Paul Orgel, Notes

"The reader is presented with an intimate portrait. . . . Monsaingeon has put together a volume that gives the reader a close-up look at an internationally known musician recognized as one of the most important pianists in the last half of the 20th century."--Choice


"In these pages, we hear only Richter's distinctive voice, unpretentious, ironic, at times defensive, humorous, convincingly sincere, as brutally candid about his foibles, his performances, and his preferences as about the strengths and failings of his colleagues. A man of determined privacy who shunned interviews, he reveals himself almost inadvertently in his recollections. This book is indispensable to anyone interested in a magisterial artist like Richter. For the music lover and record collector, the appendices are extremely valuable."--Beth Archer Brombert, author of Eduard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat

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File created: 4/21/2017

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