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The Rest Room

Sviatoslav Richter used to call this the rest room. On days when he gave concerts at home it was turned into a dressing room.

Here you cannot help noticing the portrait of the pianist's father, Teofil Danilovich, as a young man. The following extract is from Richter's “Auto­biographical Confessions” about his father in Ya.I.Milstein's book. “From a family of German colonists... A man of many talents. Studied in Vienna. Played the piano well, particularly romantic pieces by Schumann and Chopin. Gave concerts as a pianist in his youth. But was terrified of the stage so never became a concert pianist. He played the organ splendidly and often improvised on it. Many people heard his improvisations, at the Kjrche in Odessa, where he played regularly, and in the Opera Theatre, where he was the organist”.

Teofil Danilovich and Anna Pavlovna (Richter's mother) did not manage to leave Odessa in 1941 when German troops were approaching the town. Teofil Danilovich was arrested and shot on the night of 6th October in the Odessa prison as a “German spy”. Anna Pavlovna fled to Romania and then to Germany, leaving Russia forever and her only son. They did not meet again until twenty years later. Sviatoslav Richter carried this pain in his heart all his life. On the anniversary of his father's death he used to play recordings of Teofil Danilovich's favourite works and listen to them in silence.