At the end
of 1992, immediately after New Year's Day, Sviatoslav Richter was in Rome, coming from
Moscow, just after the end of the festival "the evenings of December", founded
in 1981 by him and by the manager of the prestigious Puskin Museum, Mrs. Irina Antonova.
The festival concerts took place in the Museum rooms, between a selection of paintings and
drawings chosen according to a musical and pictorial "theme" . The happy
Muscovite audience could in this way appreciate Richter in various ways: as soloist, with
chamber groups, as singers accompanist, and even as director.
During the 1992 festival, dedicated to
"Rembrandt and Beethoven," Richter performed the Beethoven "Archduke
trio" with his friends of the Borodin Quartet, the first violin Michail Kopelman and
the cellist Valentin Berlinskij. He also played the Op 16 "wind quintet" in
collaboration with a French young group, that the Master remembers with much pleasure and
enthusiasm. Soon after, on the eighth of January 1993, we listened to him in
S.Cecilia-Rome, in the following performance: Beethoven - Sonata Op. 31 n 3, Chopin -
Polonaise-Fantaisie Op. 61 and Skrjabin- Second Sonata, two Mazurkas Op. 40, Nocturne Op.
61, concluding with "Vers the flamme" Op 72. Then The Master expressed the desire to offer a free concert in a
Conservatoire situated along his journey South. The lucky school was in
our friend Paolo Ponziano Ciardi is a teacher. He immediately started organizing the
historical happening in collaboration with our Association. On the 11th of January,
under the aegis of the Municipality of Benevento, of the Symphonic Institution of
Benevento and Sannio, and of The National Conservatoire of Music of
Richter performed at the "Theater De Simone" for an audience of students and
academics. Yamaha brougth the piano to Benevento, with quality assistance. The
program, directly hand written by the Master, showed his curriculum and his usual
quotations: "Why don't I play without score"? "Why do I play with faint
light"?. Here is the program: Bach, sonata in D minor BWV 964; Beethoven sonata in F
major op. 54. After the interval: Chopin, Polonaise in D minor posthumous opera and three
studies posthumous opera; Skrjabin, sonata-fantasia N.2 in G sharp minor op. 19 and, to
finish, Debussy, the "Isle joyeuse". A quotation from his curriculum, dictated
personally by the Master, states: "In 1937 he moves to Moscow and then enrolls at the Conservatoire,
at the class of the famous pianist Heinrich Neuhaus, of which he says ' he was my second
At 4:30 PM Sviatoslav Richter (above with Valerij Voskobojnikov in Siena, 1992) went to
the theater. The audience, composed by many young students, was asked not to bother the
performer taking photos during the performance and not to record. At the beginning they
were perhaps a little frightened, but soon the audience warmed up becoming enthusiastic
with the encore: "Bruyères" by Debussy.
The Master confided us that the program had risen in a fairly casual way. But we know him,
and we can disagree. The program was a collection of great composers works, too often
neglected by the Italian Conservatories, in which he chose in a near to
for an audience of young students. At the end of the concert the Master in his dressing
room autographed many of the programs for the young audience. Happy, incredulous
expressions, for the unforgettable opportunity in the small southern city. After the
concert Paolo Ciardi and I were entertained by the Master, who was with his agent Mrs.
Milena Borromeo, at his hotel room.
We entertained a pleasant conversation wich started
with our thanks and apologies for the inevitable discomfort, faced by the Master with
serenity and generosity. The Master asked us news about our Association, and gave us his
approval in the remembrance of our great Teacher and Master. He also gave us the friendly
and witty declaration (farther) , always remembering with great love the genius and the
charm of H. Neuhaus.