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Jed Distler, January 2013

Thanks to Idéale Audience, Bruno Monsaingeon’s fascinating 1998 documentary film Richter the Enigma finally appears on DVD…Sviatoslav Richter may have been depressed and laconic in his last years, yet he relates events from his life to the camera with disarming frankness and sly humor, whether disparaging his remarkable memory for names, showing an understated yet clear contempt for political intrigues, discussing the challenges of accompanying Fischer-Dieskau, or giving a vividly succinct portrait of his pianistic colleague and rival Maria Yudina.

In addition to a wealth of archival footage and even an extract from a feature film in which Richter stars as Liszt, Monsaingeon fills in gaps with skillfully deployed still photographs and home movies that enhance and contextualize Richter’s narrative. General audiences and the pianist’s most ardent fans will find Richter the Enigma equally engrossing. © 2013 Read complete review

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