From Russia with Love – Russian Piano Music
Russian piano music is infused with revolution and nationalism, and that’s what makes it so exquisitely climactic and beautiful. Russia has produced some of the world’s finest piano composers, and in this article we’ll discuss some of them.
Vladimir Horowitz, 1903 – 1989, is known as one of the greatest pianists of all time. He was born in Russia, where his mother taught him how to play the piano. He was later enrolled in the Kiev Conservatory, where his teachers included Sergei Tarnowsky, Vladimir Puchalskyand Felix Blumenfeld.
In 1920, he held his first solo recital. This recital was such a success that he began to tour Russia, where due to economic recession, his audience paid in bread, butter and chocolate.
Horowitz continued to live and perform in Russia until the age of 21, after which he moved to the West in order to study piano in Berlin.
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) is a world-known Russian pianist, who lived in Russia until the Russian revolution, which pushed him to relocate to America, where he continued to compose and play.
Rachmaninov’s first symphony was released in 1897 but was not well-received. This sent him into a four-year long period of depression, during which he did not compose at all. However, therapy pulled him out of his depression, and he wrote Piano Concerto No.2, which was very well received.
However, Rachmaninov’s work is seen as conflicting. Some experts love it and find it rich, vibrant and overflowing with musical expertise, others find it dull and monotone.
Sviatoslav Richter (1915 – 1997) is seen as one of the greatest pianists to have lived in the 20th century.
Richter was born in the Soviet Union, to a well-educated and well-travelled musical family. His father was a German expatriate who played and wrote music for the cello and organ, and his mother had at one point been a pupil of his father.
From a young age, Richter showed an interest in the musical world. In response, his father gave him a basic music education, after which Richter chose to self-teach.
As with many great pianists, Richter toured. In 1949, he received the Stalin Prize, which was given to individuals to honour their achievements in their fields, especially if they were patriots and advanced the Soviet Union or socialism.
Richter also won the Lenin Prize, a highly prestigious and sought-after recognition of his abilities.
Winning both the Stalin and Lenin Prize made Richter well-loved and gave him the opportunity to tour Russia, China and Eastern Europe. He later played worldwide, performing in America, France and Switzerland, with his talent being loved and appreciated in all corners of the world.
The piano can be played in so many different ways and can produce works capable of bringing many to tears. If you would be interested in purchasing a piano and experiencing it for yourself, feel free to visit our showroom in Sydney or to contact us to find out more.