Richter explained his approach to performance as follows: "The interpreter is really an executant, carrying out the composer's intentions to the letter. He doesn't add anything that isn't already in the work. If he is talented, he allows us to glimpse the truth of the work that is in itself a thing of genius and that is reflected in him. He shouldn't dominate the music, but should dissolve into it." Or, similarly: "I am not a complete idiot but, whether from weakness or laziness, have no talent for thinking. I know only how to reflect: I am a mirror . . . Logic does not exist for me. I float on the waves of art and life and never really know how to distinguish what belongs to the one or the other or what is common to both. Life unfolds for me like a theatre presenting a sequence of somewhat unreal sentiments; while the things of art are real to me and go straight to my heart." Approach to Performance (Wikipedia entry)I've listened to both of the below Richter pieces approximately ten times each tonight. As a result, I'm sure some (myself, namely) might accuse me of obsessive-compulsive behavior. It is just that the depth of his performance is so astounding. I can't escape his reflection of these "waves of art." They elicit a pleasant, tingling, visceral reaction. Indeed, I seek them with vigor.
No matter! I shall return to my music. *end Norma Desmond impression*
In all seriousness, Richter truly does embody Beethoven. It is almost a spectacle to behold (um, belisten?)--
[Sadly, I couldn't locate the second movement on YouTube, but I did find it on Grooveshark.]