Magazine article Gramophone

Tatyana Nikolaieva

Magazine article Gramophone

Tatyana Nikolaieva

Article excerpt

Tatyana Nikolaieva

JS Bach French Suite No 4, BWV815. Musikalisches Opfer, BWV1079--Ricercar a 3 Borodin Petite Suite--No 1, In the Monastery Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition--No 5, Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks Prokofiev Prelude, Op 12 No 7 Ravel Miroirs--No 2, Oiseaux tristes; No 3, Une barque sur l'ocean Schumann Etudes symphoniques. Op 13 Scriabin Poeme tragique, Op 34. Prelude and Nocturne, Op 9 Tatyana Nikolaieva pf First Hand (F) FHR46 (79' * DDD) Recorded live at the Herodes Atticus Odeon, Athens, September 16, 1989

Look at the close-ups on any YouTube video of Tatyana Nikolaieva's pianism and you will see on full display the depth of touch, the legato weight-transfer and the shaping of phrases inculcated by the school of Alexander Goldenweiser, which also produced the likes of Lazar Berman, Ginzburg, Feinberg, Bashkirov and my own teacher, Sulamita Aronovsky. In Nikolaieva's case those qualities were allied to a personality of exceptional purity, generosity and creative intelligence, as anyone fortunate enough to have met and conversed with her (as I did) will confirm. Admittedly not every recording showed her at her imperious best, but this one, given in the spectacular outdoor arena of the Herodes Atticus Odeon in Athens four years before her death, certainly does.

If fully projected large-auditorium concert-piano Bach is not your thing, then of course you would need to skip the first eight tracks. Having said that, in its contrapuntal and architectural clarity, the three-part Ricercar from The Musical Offering is a model of its kind, and the E flat French Suite is simply joyous, thanks to its unfailing energy, perfectly weighted touch and beautifully imagined layering of texture and dynamics. Count the half-dozen or so mis-hits along the way if you will, but surely only an unswervingly anti-big-piano-Bach listener would want to. …

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