The Russian Piano Tradition - MARIA YUDINA


Piano Sonata No 12 in A flat major Op 26 (recorded in Moscow c1958)

Piano Sonata No 28 in A flat major Op 101 (recorded in Moscow c1958)

Piano Sonata No 29 in B flat major Op 106 ‘Hammerklavier’ (recorded in Moscow c1954)

We continue our comprehensive survey of the many great pianists who worked in Russia in the Soviet era

with the first disc featuring a pianist who was not a pupil of one of the three major teaching traditions we

have been following. In this case Maria Yudina’s most influential professor was Leonid Nikolayev (1878 - 1942), who also taught Sofronirsky.

Maria Yudina is perhaps the greatest maverick amongst the Soviet pianists. A woman of great will,

and one with a burning Christian faith, she somehow seemed to survive on the fringes of the Soviet

system while having countless run-ins with authority. She was never allowed to play outside the

USSR and was dismissed successively from the Leningrad and then Moscow conservatories, yet she

was much loved by the people and respected by her peers, Shostakovich in particular. She was a

great champion of contemporary western music, another thorn in the side of the authorities, and

introduced many such works to Soviet audiences, but she was also renowned for her playing of

Bach and Beethoven. She made many recordings, which are at last making their way onto CD, but

one of the finest is undoubtedly her towering rendition of Beethoven's great masterpiece, the

'Hammerklavier' sonata, which is included here.