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CD / Product Number: BC9014

A fabulous survey of some of the greatest pianists of the past century and more to emerge from the great Russian tradition of piano playing and teaching. A must for all lovers of the piano! Of historical interest – many recordings are rare, and have been hitherto been unavailable on CD. Comprehensive booklet with detailed notes on every pianist and the recordings.
‘Russia is old, Russia is vast, Russia is mighty. But her advance in art, letters and music is comparatively recent’. So wrote Joseph Lhévinne in 1917. Mikhail Glinka emerged along with Pushkin, Turgenev and Tolstoy in the early 1800s and was to become the father of Russian music. At the same time as Glinka was establishing himself as the first nationalistic composerof the nation, the first great pianist-composer settled in Moscow - the Irishman John Field. Field can lay claimto not only inventing the nocturne, but also to laying the foundation stone of what would become the great piano school of Russia. The latest students of this great tradition are very much with us today: Lugansky, Kissin and Demidenko can all be found in this set.

This remarkable 25CD survey of some of the great Russian pianists of past and present follows the tradition from those who can, through their teachers, trace a direct lineage to Clementi, Field, Beethoven, Czerny, Henselt and Liszt. The Rubinstein brothers Anton and Nikolai established the St Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories, and from the 1840s, Russia started to produce the first of the great virtuosos. Great names such as Neuhaus and Horowitz are to be found in this set, as well as Richter, Gilels – both with three CDs each – Berman, Ashkenazy, Pletnev, Gavrilov and many more. Other names (Konstantin Igumnov, Viktor Merzhanov, Yakov Zak) may be less familiar to Western ears, but will offer fascinating perspectives on the developing school of Russian pianism, and the subtly various approaches to phrase and timbre within it. The repertoire ranges from Russian warhorses such as the First Piano Concertos by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev to intimate salon pieces such as Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, including rarely heard works such as Kabalevsky’s set of Preludes. The monumental concertos by Brahms, Beethoven and others are well represented, as are the litmus tests of Classical and Romantic piano literature: there are several contrasting versions of Liszt’s B minor Sonata and Beethoven’s Sonata No.32.


Artists on this set include: Vladimir Ashkenazy - Lazar Berman - Samuil Feinberg - Yakov Flier - Andrei Gavrilov - Emil Gilels - Grigory Ginzburg - Vladimir Horowitz - Evgeny Kissin - Heinrich Neuhaus - Lev Oborin - Sviatoslav Richter - Vladimir Sofronitzky - Maria Yudina