|VVCD - 00072
of Maria Yudina
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata No 29 (Grosse Sonate fur
das Hammerklavier), op. 106, B Dur
op.116 No 2, a-moll. * op.117 No 1, Es-Dur * op.117 No 2, b-moll
* op.117 No 3, cis-moll * op. 118 No 1, a-moll * op. 118 No 2, A-Dur
* op. 118 No 4, f-moll * op. 118 No 6, es-moll * op. 119 No 2, e-moll
* op. 119 No 3, C-Dur
Piano works by Ludvig
van Beethoven form a basis of Maria Yudina's classical repertoire.
Over the time of her almost half-a-century artistic career she played
24 Sonatas, two Piano Concertos (No 4 and No 5), "Fantasy"
for Piano, Choir and Orchestra, op. 80, several Piano variations.
She read in his music a tragic picture of life of a zetetic and
suffering mind. She flowed together with it in sorrow and joy. Sometimes
Yudina felt that she was too weak to comprehend an inconceivable
greatness of his genius. In 1923 Yudina wrote to Maximilian Steinberg:
"I give up playing Beethoven because I still do not dare to
play him. I can look at the stars and planets but the Sun makes
me blind and I cannot and dare not play being blind". But then
moments of indecision gave turn to a passionate desire to express
her understanding of the great music.
Yudina experienced this kind of doubts and even desperation every
time she turned to a grandiose Sonata, op. 106, Hammerklavier, which
Samuil Feinberg described as a sonata of "titanic contrasts".
Musicians who observed her closely recall that even when going on
to the stage she used to cross herself fervently and exclaim: "Oh
God, why on earth one condemns oneself to such torments". But
after playing doughtily and mightfully two first exclamations of
appeal she used to forget her nervousness and even forget herself.
She remarked once that "Beethoven wrote for the whole mankind,
and he contained in himself not only the mankind but the whole cosmos".
The recordings on this
disc probably amaze most of all with a spontaneous development of
the panorama of the musical events. Yudina irreproachably delivers
the whole conception of the sonata in its integrity yet she makes
an impression of a brilliant improvisation. There is nothing stark
in her performance, no final shape, everything lives and breathes.
In the first movement where unpredictability underlies its structure
Yudina very flexibly and freely uses tempo. Very convincingly she
makes even more agonic deflections than the author intended it.
The third movement, Adagio represents an emotional center of the
sonata and is full of prophetic insights into the future. Yudina
appears here as an artist of this future and achieves real heights
of the expressiveness. The final movement, the fugue, appears as
if from non-existence, out from the vague contours of Largo. It
is satiated with colossal intellectual and spiritual energy. Yudina
plays the Fugue with amazing mastery of technique and at the same
time with great ease.
Iohannes Brahms' works
also figured prominently in Yudina's repertoire. She played all
three sonatas, Variations On A Theme By Handel, Piano concerto No
1, intermezzos, capriccios and other pieces. At the end of her artistic
career she more often performed his latest compositions, that is
intermezzos. We can not detach now Yudina's interpretations of those
masterpieces and her remarkable article 'Six Intermezzos by Iohannes
Brahms" that was written in 1968 - 1969. All together it represents
a rare combination of critique, poetry, philosophy, and music.
Yudina examines the genre of intermezzo in a historic prospective.
She discovers really striking parallels in the works of art of geniuses
belonging to different epochs and cultures, from ancient Greece
to our time. She takes example of Iohann Damaskin, an 8th century
Byzantine theologian who was also a poet and composer. She refers
to his transparently peaceful elegies, full of lyrical and philosophical
reflections about death that makes equal all human destinies. Yudina
also writes about Alessandro Botticelli and his ineffably soft almost
ethereal portrait of women as light in their curling dresses as
they were living in the clouds. Both Botucelli and Brahms, Yudina
says, stand on the threshold of life and death, they do not and
did not condemn anybody. Boticelli's amazing colors sometimes have
something in common with brightest and most unexpected sound phenomenon
by Brahms, with some line of chords or sudden appearance of a new
theme or its staggering reconstruction".
Intermezzos as performed by Yudina sound like sincere monologues
and confessions. She reveals new notional sides of these compositions
reaching, as Grigory Kogan said, the heights she conquered when
performing Iohann Sebastian Bach, Piano Concerto by Mozart, Beethoven's
Hammerklavier and Piano Concerto No 2 by Prokofiev". What strikes
us in her performance is a perfect sense of form, fantastic richness
of colours, and plasticidy of the musical phrases. This is probably
the incomprehensible "Yudina's phenomenon", an eternal
enigma of the genius, the mystery of her great art.
A student and friend of Maria Yudina
Cover. Maria Yudina. All the photographs for the
series of CDs "The Legacy of Maria Yudina" were kindly
granted by Alexander Kuznetzov from his personal archive.Alexander
Kuznetzov was a friend and student of Maria Yudina.
Recorded: 1951; 1952; 1966; 1968