Saturday, 8 September 2012

Maria Yudina

My recent purchases of CDs have been heavily slanted towards pianists, and sopranos. Violinists have taken the back seat, for the moment. I already have a very extensive collection of violin recordings, and, alas, the immensely talented new generation is steered almost exclusively towards the same old 9-10 concertos and 9-10 violin and piano sonatas. Even the very highly esteemed – by me --Alina Ibragimova is about to appear with … the Mendelssohn violin concerto of which I already have 74 recordings, the earliest being Fritz Kreisler in 1926. To make things worse, Ibragimova couples the concerto with Mendelssohn's juvenile concerto that Yehudi Menuhin exhumed. Alina won't get my money this time round.

So I've spent my time with sopranos, and currently with the Russian pianist Maria Yudina playing Bach, Liszt, Beethoven and Brahms (Melodiya recordings from the 1950s). 3 ½ hours of Yudina is intensely pleasurable. What comes over (apart from complete technical mastery) is the passionate convinction with which she plays. No feminine delicacy with Yudina; at times she sounds a bit like a Russian T34 tank. She was an eccentric artist (and person) but played as she thought the music should be played; not to make an impression, not just as she was taught. Her sincerity and convinction are completely credible.

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