Russian pianist Kirill Richter is a star in ascent. Richter’s shows have an atmosphere like a crowded club show. His audiences are ready to mob the stage at any moment, carried away by exuberance. Case in point: at an outdoor performance in St. Petersburg last summer a rapt audience sprang into action when rain began falling, shielding Richter and fellow performers with umbrellas while staring bug-eyed at the musicians.
Richter doesn’t offer the wildest, most outlandish shows. He’s no musical libertine. What makes Richter’s music so affecting, and effective, is a steadfast commitment to presentation. Every moment is taut. A repeated figure always leads somewhere. Intervals of repose last long enough – as long as a drawn breath – to make subsequent bombast stunningly effective.
It’s still early days in Kirill Richter’s career, but clearly great things lie ahead. Even road-hardened musicians should take note of Richter’s compelling blueprint.