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  Directed by
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  • Full Frame
  • Dual Sided
  • Russian: Linear PCM Stereo
    English, French, German
  • Booklet

Richter - The Enigma

Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 77 mins . G . PAL


Sviatoslav Richter, the brilliant Russian pianist, disliked cameras and refused interviews for much of his life, only submitting towards the end of his life, hence this rather strange DVD.

As best I can tell, it's actually a two-part documentary, made in France and makes very few concessions to English speakers. I'm quite surprised that it's even available in this country. For example, there is no English voiceover and subtitles are off by default!

You may be able to last through a couple of hours of watching an old man speak in Russian, interspersed with some brilliantly-played excerpts from his performances. However, I found it very difficult going, and I certainly wouldn't be wanting to spend money on it!


Average at best, with the oldest archive footage displaying sub-VHS sharpness and plenty of film artifacts. However, considering the age of the footage, the transfer is reasonable with decent contrast and black levels.


A sticker on the cover of the disc claims Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, but I found no trace of it. Both sides of the disc appeared to only contain a single stereo PCM track. Sound quality varies from decent to poor depending on the vintage of the archive footage. I've certainly heard better piano recordings, but this is generally listenable.


The disc is packaged in one of those atrocious super jewel cases, which made the removal of the included booklet unnecessarily difficult. Hopefully Warner will stop using these cases soon, as they present no benefits over other styles of cases, while being heavier and more fragile.

The booklet provides 3 pages of English text, repeated in French and German.


While I have an interest in classical music, my patience was sorely tested on this disc. I'd imagine there's a small portion of the population who'd be interested in watching this on the ABC, but I seriously doubt anyone would want to keep it. Save your money and buy some classical CDs (if you have DTS capability, you can find some wonderful 5.1 classical recordings, all of which are far more satisfying than this effort).

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      And I quote...
    - Paul Dossett
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 103(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Mitsubishi Diva 33
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha DSP-A1
    • Speakers:
          Richter Excalibur
    • Centre Speaker:
          Richter Unicorn
    • Surrounds:
          Richter Hydras
    • Audio Cables:
          Monster RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Monster s-video
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