Notebooks and Conversations
Throughout a life dedicated to music, Richter maintained a stubborn silence about his own ideals and aspirations. Here at last he opens up his heart, both in an exceptional interview, and in his private musical Journals. Bruno Monsaingeon - renowned for his documentary films - became close to Richter not long before the pianist's death in 1995, and assembled the memories of his childhood, and his early career for the film on which this book is based. Richter recounts what it was like to be an 'artist of the people', his meetings with Russian performers and composers - Oistrakh, Rostropovich, Gilels, Prokofiev, Shostakovich - and his rise to international acclaim. The pianist's personal Journals, kept for nearly thirty years, constitute an unparalleled witness to the music of our time. He notes with precision, humour and clarity his reactions to concerts, operas, fellow musicians - even his own recordings. Richter is uninhibitedly himself. These are the private thoughts of a nonconformist, one of the greatest performers of the century, yet one whose life was bound inextricably to the history of the USSR.