We continue our comprehensive survey of the many great pianists who worked in Russia in the Soviet era with the first two discs in the Igumnov School. 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. Igumnov was the oldest of the thre great teachers we are considering.
Flier arrived at the Moscow Conservatiore a prodigy and rapidly went on to become one of the greatest of Igumnov's many pupils. He had a friendly rivalry with Emil Gilels, beating him in competition in 1935, only for the roles to be reversed in the Queen Elizabeth Competition of 1938. In many ways his career mimicked that of his teacher Igumnov, as Flier also taught at the Moscow Conservatiore from an early age until his death and produced many illustrious pupils, though perhaps his own fame, at least internationally, suffered as a result.
Flier had a large repertoire and specialized particularly in the great works of the Romantic period which suited his all-encompassing, but undemonstrative, technique. Unfortunately he made surprisingly few recordings though all we have are very fine. Of particular interest here is the world premiere recording of Kabalevsky's 24 Preludes Op.34, a work Flier also premiered in concert. These and all the other material included, are new to CD.