|VVCD - 00075
of Maria Yudina
Piano concertos No 4 & No 5
Symhony Orchestra. Conductor Kurt Zanderling.
USSR State Radio Orchestra. Conductor Natan Rakhlin.
This CD includes Yudina's
recordings of Beethoven's Piano concertos No 4 and No 5. It is a
miracle that these unique archive recordings made in 1947 and 1950
are still extant. No 5 is released for the first time ever while
No 4 was issued on a gramophone record long ago. So the significance
of these Yudina's recordings may not be underestimated for musicians
and philharmonics. Besides, we may hear here two outstanding conductors
of the 20th century who were partners and friends of Yudina, Kurt
Zanderling and Natan Rakhlin.
However the main reason why these recordings are unique is that
these are really two masterpieces of Yudina's artistic performance.
When listening to her interpretation of No 4 one can forget that
it is performed by a musician of the 20th century. Beethoven's great
music sounds here like coming from under the hands of the author
himself, in a very clear and unaffected way. It is permeated with
"silence clear like clean water in a crystal cup" (Yudina
about Florensky). It reflects the state of soul that corresponds
to the harmony of the concerto. Beethoven's notes in all three movements
tell us exactly this: dolce, molto cantabile, molto espressivo -
the composer writes and suggests to play p, pp. Gentle and delicate
sound of piano fascinates from the very first chords. The orchestra
plays the same theme even more gently and with exalted power. Maria
Veniaminovna Yudina found in Kurt Zanderling a like-minded musician
and a tactful partner. We can hear here such a co-ordination of
intentions and the attitude to the whole composition that makes
the performers imperceptible. It's the absolute spirit that reigns
But then in cadenzas written by Brahms Yudina reveals herself in
full measure as a personality and an interpreter. It's a true improvisation
where Yudina, following the romantic intonations by Brahms, introduces
new substance into familiar themes with a stylistic impeccability.
In the first movement there are no typical Beethoven contrasts and
dramatic collisions. But one can hear these in cadenzas that as
performed by Yudina acquire a truly symphonic scale and become culmination
of the movement.
Second movement represents a mournful dialogue of the piano and
orchestra. The strings sound sternly but not menacingly. Quiet (p,
pp) and singing (molto cantabile) piano remarks are full of sorrow,
resignation and light. The voices of two suffering artists, Beethoven
and Yudina, flow together sounding like revelation.
Maria Veniaminovna plays Finale with amazing gracefulness and underlines
a dancing character of the main theme. There are great many bewitching
crystal soundings in high register and rich mellow basses in pastoral
On the whole No 4 as performed by Yudina staggers by an extraordinary
combination of two principles. On the one hand, it's lofty clear
lyrics, lovely tunes that sour in the clouds and seem not to be
restricted by any limits of rhythm or measure or form. On the other
hand, there is an instant change over to firm measured passages
where indomitable energy pulsates and everything is yielded to iron
The same combination of iron will and spontaneity and incomparable
lyricism fascinates in Yudina's interpretation of Concerto No 5.
"Already with the first E flat major chords Yudina raised the
curtain behind which a panorama of a truly Hellenic beauty was opened
to our eyes, - says Gennady Rozhdestvensky who once accompanied
Yudina in performing the Concerto. - Indeed it's a deep perception
of the essence of Beethoven's music and its exceptionally modern
interpretation, lucidity alongside grandeur, this is what distinguished
Maria Veniaminovna's performance".
The great art of Maria Veniaminovna Yudina is full of mysteries
and enigmas. It would be in vain to try to solve them. Let's just
ponder over them and always remember that "our approach towards
understanding of a musical composition is infinite" (Yudina).
A student and friend of Maria Yudina
Total time: 72.29