Notes of a Moscow Pianist

Notes of a Moscow Pianist

Notes of a Moscow Pianist

Notes of a Moscow Pianist


Through the middle years of this century, a formidable stream of Russian pianists - Gilels, Richter, Berman, Ashkenazy - took the musical world by storm, revealing by their virtuosity and musicianship the continuation of a great pianistic tradition. The Central School of Music and the Moscow Conservatory were the shrines where this tradition was passed on by dedicated and gifted teachers. Dmitry Paperno, himself a brilliant pianist, was a witness to this golden age of the piano. His memoirs, translated for the first time into English, take us into the halls of these celebrated schools, where the reader encounters not only the great pianists of the period but other legendary names: Oistrakh, Kogan, Rostropovich. Towering above all is his beloved teacher, Alexander Borisovich Goldenweiser. The rich musical life of Moscow and the tensions of international competition are vividly described along with the brutal repression of the Stalin years. The author recalls his performing career and gives an account of his years teaching in America since his emigration, rounding out this reminiscence.


These memoirs captured me so powerfully that I literally read them in one breath, with great interest and empathy. I remember personally much that the author is writing about, yet he has shown me many things in an absolutely new light. I have even made some discoveries for myself.

For some readers this book might seem too nostalgic, but I think that this touch of nostalgia bears witness to the spontaneity and sincerity of the author.

Above all, Dmitry Paperno is a highly talented pianist and a man of intelligence. He found himself in the center of Moscow's musical life during and after World War II, while at the same time he experiences all the zig-zags of a career that depended on the musical bureaucracy and the authorities. in the midst of all this, he describes the events and people absolutely honestly and impartially.

Not many memoirs of Soviet musicians are published in the West. This book is a remarkable contribution to the chronicle of contemporary Russia's musical life.

Vladimir Ashkenazy . . .

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