These four titles are the first in a comprehensive survey of the many great pianists who worked in Russia in the Soviet era. The bulk of the issues will be divided into 'schools' which represent the three main teachers of this period - Neuhaus, Goldenweiser and Igumnov, - and their pupils. We begin with perhaps the greatest of these - Neuhaus, and two of his pupils - Emil Gilels & Yakov Zak.
Heinrich Neuhaus was born in the Ukraine to a German father and Polish mother. His parents were music teachers and he took to music from an early age making his debut aged fourteen, from then on he rapidly made a name for himself both as a performer and teacher. Always an erratic, nervous performer in public, teaching gradually took precedence over his concert activities and he gave his Farewell Recital in Moscow in 1949. He was the leading piano professor at the Moscow Conservatoire from 1922 to 1964, and Director there between 1935 and 1937.
Neuhaus is now best remembered for his incredible list of pupils; Gilels, Richter, Zak , his son Stanislav, as well as Bakst, Brumberg, Goldfarb, Krainev, Kvapil, Lupu, Naumov, Nasedkin, Slobodyanik, Vedernikov, Versaladze, and Zhukov to name a few, however he also made a great many recordings, very few of which have been issued in the west.
They reveal a most poetic pianist, ideally attuned to Chopin or to the smaller scale Scriabin presented here. His Beethoven reveals a musical integrity which takes us to the heart of the composer. Above all Neuhaus reveals the musical value of a work rather than its superficial effect and it is no doubt this spiritual response to music which he was able to impart to his pupils, making him such an inspiring and successful teacher.