Tatiana Nikolayeva

8.99 €

Tatiana Nikolayeva was a renowned interpreter of Bach on the piano. It was her playing of Bach at the Leipzig International Bach Competition in 1950 which inspired Shostakovich to write his 24 Preludes and Fugues for her. She was known to have had an immense repertoire and her Bach performances were hailed as musical, insightful, colorful, expressive and unique. The live Leipzig recital revived by meloclassic for Rundfunk der DDR has never been published before.

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TATIANA NIKOLAYEVA – The legendary Leipzig Piano Recital 1966

1-8. BACH: French Suite No.4 in E-flat Major, BWV.815 [14:03]
9. BACH: Toccata in F-sharp minor, BWV.910 [11:05]
10. BACH: Prélude & Fugue No.1 in C Major, BWV.846 [03:52]
11. BACH: Prélude & Fugue No.2 in C minor, BWV.847 [03:20]
12. BACH: Prélude & Fugue No.3 in C-sharp Major, BWV.848 [03:13]
13. BACH: Prélude & Fugue No.4 in C-sharp minor, BWV.849 [08:20]
14. BACH: Prélude & Fugue No.5 in D Major, BWV.850 [02:58]
15. SHOSTAKOVITCH: Prélude & Fugue No.14 in E flat minor, Op.87 [06:15]
16. SHOSTAKOVITCH: Prélude & Fugue No.1 in C Major, Op.87 [04:09]
17. SHOSTAKOVITCH: Prélude & Fugue No.3 in G major, Op.87 [03:35]
18. SHOSTAKOVITCH: Prélude & Fugue No.18 in F minor, Op.87 [01:52]
19. BACH: Variations 18-19 from Goldberg Variation [03:59]
20. SCARLATTI: Piano Sonata in C Major, L.1040 [03:18]
21. PROKOFIEV: Prélude No.7 in C Major, Op.12 [03:11]
22. SCHUMANN: Intermezzo from Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op.26 [02:41]

Recorded · 02 June 1966 · Leipzig · Altes Rathaus · Internationales Bachfest Leipzig 1966 · Rundfunk der DDR · Live Recording

Additional Information

Article number: MC 1019
Release date: 02 May 2014
UPC barcode: 0791154050194
Total time: 75:58

Producer and Audio Restoration: Lynn Ludwig
Booklet Notes: Michael Waiblinger
Design: Alessia Issara
Photographs: Deutsche Fotothek
With special thanks to Bruce Duffie
From the Original Masters · © 2014 Meloclassic

Tatiana Petrovna Nikolayeva (Russian: Татья́на Петро́вна Никола́ева) was born on May 4, 1924, in Bezhitz, near Bryansk. She began piano study at the age of 5 with her mother, a professional pianist, had studied at the Moscow Conservatory under the celebrated pedagogue Alexander Goldenweiser (1875-1961), and her father was a keen amateur violinist and cellist. In the following year she was admitted by competitive examination to the Central Secondary School of Music in Moscow, a branch of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where her was Goldenweiser. The professor had been a friend of Scriabin, Rachmaninov and Medtner, and inculcated into his students the need to develop the highest proficiency in contrapuntal playing. Bach was very much the order of the day.


Graduating from the class in 1947, and whilst still at the Conservatory she won second prize at the first International People’s Competition in Prague. Nikolayeva then studied composition with Yevgeni Golubev. The fruit of this course was a cantata Pesn o schast’ye and a piano concerto in B, the latter a piece that she later recorded with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra under the eminent conductor Kiril Kondrashin.

After a highly successful series of concerts in Russia, Nikolayeva won in 1950 1st prize at the Leipzig Bach Competition for her performance of J.S. Bach’s clavier works. It was Nikolayeva for whom Shostakovich wrote his 24 Preludes and Fugues between October 1950 and March 1951, inspired by hearing her Bach-playing at Leipzig. Subsequently she toured in Eastern Europe and her career really took off. Appearances, however, were very much restricted to Eastern Bloc countries, and she never achieved the ‘favoured artist’ status that was the prerequisite to enable any Soviet musician to play abroad during the Cold War years. Nikolayeva began to appear regularly in the West only late in life and it was not until the early 1980s that she began to perform in Europe, Japan and America, eventually playing in more than thirty-five countries.

She made her American debut in 1992, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She gave her New York debut recitals on Oct. 30 and Nov. 3 this year, playing the Shostakovich preludes and fugues at the 92d Street Y. Nikolayeva suffered a cerebral haemorrhage during a recital on Nov. 13 at the San Francisco Music Center. Stricken again soon afterwards, she lost consciousness permanently. She was being treated at the California-Pacific Medical Center where she died 9 days later.

© Michael Waiblinger 2014

Pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva A Conversation with Bruce Duffie in October 1992:

Duffie: Do you play the same for a recording as you do in a live concert?

Nikolayeva: It is very different. The presence of the audience plays a very, very important role. At the recording sessions, which usually take place in a studio or in a church, I try to inspire myself by imagining an audience in my head. I much prefer live performances. Even if some little technical flaws happen, it doesn’t matter because the most important thing is the contact with the public. That is very important for an artist, but you must accept that it is also important to make recordings. I have made two sets of recordings of the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich. The first was done in Moscow in 1961 – about thirty years ago – with a very good recording engineer; his name is Valentin Skoblo and he now lives in Canada. I made it in the concert hall of the Gnessin Institute. It was very memorable because I was expecting my son at the time. Shostakovich was still alive; he listened to the recording and was very pleased. He actually thanked me. But that recording was not perfect in the technical sense. Today we have the compact disc which is better.

Duffie: So the newer recording has improved sound, but is the interpretation also better?

Nikolayeva: I would say that my later recording is different. My friendship with Shostakovich lasted twenty-five years and was very intimate. I absorbed his music and knew very well how to play it. From 1950 until he died in 1975, I was present at all of his premieres. I even attended many of the rehearsals. Each new piece was a very big event in the concert life in Moscow. His Fifth String Quartet was created at the same time as 24 Preludes and Fugues, as was the Tenth Symphony. The Preludes and Fugues was something very special: I was watching and listening to them being born. When he wrote the piano pieces, he would call me almost every day. I’d come and he’d play excerpts to me. I then started playing them myself and played them to him. Even now I have these memories and understand his spiritual world. I consider him a true genius, of course. I am very grateful, and thank God that I didn’t lose the freshness of that early experience. I have some freedom of interpretation, but fundamentally I play them the way Shostakovich wanted them to be played.

Duffie: So it was a collaborative effort between the composer and the performer?

Nikolayeva: Well, to some extent. He was a man of very few words. He didn’t talk much. He was very laconic, even, for example, when Mravinsky conducted his symphonies. But I knew him for 25 years, so I knew his musical and creative personality. I knew what he wanted.

Duffie: Having worked so closely with Shostakovich, does this help you in the presentation of other composers?

Nikolayeva: Unquestionably. He influenced me a great deal. When I was young, he came to some of my concerts – even if I didn’t play his works. It was very inspiring and he always gave me advice. This was very important inspiration. I just want to add that for a while I was very satisfied playing just the Preludes and Fugues; I thought that they are so great that it would be enough for me. But things changed, and I started playing his Trio and his Quintet and the two Piano Concertos. I recorded his Second Piano Sonata, 24 Preludes Op. 34 (not the Preludes and Fugues Op. 87), and Three Fantastic Dances, Op. 1. Now I play virtually all of his piano compositions, including a few that I have learned recently. Many pieces I play are by Shostakovich but not only by him.

Duffie: Beyond Shostakovich, how do you decide which works you will learn from this huge repertoire for the piano?

Nikolayeva: Considering the wealth of music I play, sometimes I feel myself a millionaire. I have a very big repertoire. Sometimes I think I know practically everything that has been written for the piano! All 32 Beethoven sonatas, and so much else… But I am never satisfied. I am always happy to add something new.

Duffie: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to compose music for the piano?

Nikolayeva: Not so much is being written these days for the piano. This is unfortunate, and I am not happy about it. This is not only in Russia, but in the whole world. And you know why ?
Because it’s not easy to write for the piano. The piano repertoire is so rich. Besides Shostakovich there is Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev who have enriched it a great deal. So it’s not easy for new composers. There are also composers like Henri Dutilleux and Olivier Messiaen. They created so much for the piano, and after them it’s not easy to say something new. I hope that something good will come up in the future for the piano.

Duffie: Since you do some teaching, what general advice do you have for young pianists?

Nikolayeva: It’s not easy to combine my work as a pedagogue with my performing career which takes me all over the world. I also compose, and of course I have a private life with my family, so it’s difficult; but I love very much the young generation, and to be surrounded by the young. When I teach, I also learn from them and it’s very inspiring. They make me feel younger and I am rejuvenated! I believe I know what they try to reach, what interests them. I try to help them in their future artistic life onstage. I play many concerts myself, at least 100 a year, so I think I know how to help them. The traditions of the Moscow Conservatory are very rich and all of us who teach are trying to preserve them. We try to help the youngsters find the spirit of these works, to be profound and not superficial. The technical mastery is very important, but what’s even more important is to discover the content of a composition and to relate it to the public. The modern piano allows so many possibilities. Its tone palette is so rich. It can sound like a full orchestra, and the artistic level must come up to the technical level to give the composers what they wanted.

Duffie: One last, very easy question. What’s the purpose of music?

Nikolayeva: The basic purpose of music is to help people in their life. The art of music, unlike any other form of art, can help human beings to cope with the tragic losses in life, and bring happiness into their life. This way, I think, music is unlike any other art. For example, I attended the concerts of the Chicago Symphony when they came to Moscow on a tour, and I saw how happy the audience was. It makes the life a bit easier, even though we have to deal with the present situation in Russia. It was heart-warming to see how happy they were to listen to the great music being played, and it was great to see how music affected the people who were there. And I believe it will be like this forever that this special language of music will continue helping people in their lives.

Source Bruce Duffie @: http://www.bruceduffie.com/nikolayeva2.html

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