You've seen the movie, now
read the book
last week, Editions Van de Velde in Tours, France published
Ecrits, conversations (in French), which includes Richter's
monologue, Monsaingeon's interviews with the pianist as well as
fascinating extracts from Richter's private notebooks documenting 30
years of artistic activity, photos, the pianist's personal répertoire
list and a chronology of concert performances and major events between
1934 and 1995.
In fact, the book predates the film. Richter
and Francis Van de Velde agreed to a biography in August 1995. The Van
de Velde family were close friends of Richter for over 30 years and
co-founders with him of the Fêtes musicales en Touraine whose
principal venue was a barn, the Grange de Meslay, near Tours. Because
of a heart condition and a more recent knee accident, he feared he
would no longer be able to play. "Concerts were his only means of
revenue", said Van de Velde from his office in Tours. "Richter
and his wife lived like Bohemians. When they needed money, he gave a
Richter was appalled by what had been
published in the press about his alleged political convictions and
eccentricities, not to mention concert cancellations. With Van de
Velde, the pianist and his wife might have final say. When Nina
Dorliac brought Richter's private notebooks to the attention of the
French publisher, Van de Velde contacted Bruno Monsaingeon to write
the book, "the only person capable of accomplishing this task,
because of his knowledge of Russian and music."
had approached Richter several times in the past about a film, but the
pianist always refused. "Richter always fled images", said
Ursula Van de Velde, wife of the publisher. "I am not sure of his
total complicity here. For me, it is a bit of a violation."
Richter wasn't dupe to the presence of a camera", asserted
Monsieur Van de Velde. "He knew he could be filmed, and accepted,
but he didn't want to see it." A tape recorder and a discreetly
hidden camera were used during Monsaingeon's conversations with
Richter - Ecrits, conversations is a
co-production of Editions Van de Velde, ARTE Editions and Actes Sud.
The first 5000 copies are accompanied by a CD of unpublished Richter
material and went on sale in France on 1 September. The Paris
department store Galeries Lafayette will host a book signing and photo
exhibition with Bruno Monsaingeon on Saturday 12 September. While
serious discussions are already underway in Japan, Editions Van de
Velde has yet to find partners for publication in English or German.
Meanwhile on the Net, Boston-based Richter specialist Paul
Geffen, whose Internet discography of Richter's recordings and tapes
is essential for anyone with a serious interest in the artist's
recorded history, has recently created a mailing list devoted
exclusively to Richter. One can lurk quietly or exchange information
and opinions about the pianist and his artistic legacy with
Related Internet sites:
Feature on Richter and Reader Contributions
the Franco-German culture television station has organised a contest
where you can win CDs. For aditional information, full story and photo
gallery, please visit:-
Richter by Dr. Ates Tanin
Try your hand at Klassiknet's Richter Quiz to win a Video or the
Book! Click to go to quiz.
Contribute to the Best of Richter Net Collection.