After critical and commercial success of the first two volumes, LP Classics continues to explore the vaults of Gosteleradiofond (one of the main Russian Archives of radio and television broadcasts), and is honored to release live performances of this remarkable pianist.
In one of the recent reviews of Vol.2, David DeBoor Canfield of Fanfare Magazine stated:
“There is simply no telling how many musical treasures are collecting dust in various radio archives and similar institutions waiting to be unearthed. I know how rewarding unearthing a gem can be, as I’ve had a few occasions to come across something really musically valuable during the course of my decades as a record dealer. The present recital by Russian pianist Vera Gornostaeva must rand among the significant discoveries of such desiderata in the past decade.
This is playing of the first order by an artist of unquestionable major stature. Gornostaeva’s reading of Pictures sits squarely in the grand tradition of Russian and Soviet performers of the era. She convincingly sets each of the pictures within the framework of the whole, so that one hears the piece as an entity, and not a series of separate smaller works. This is a near flawlessly executed live performance of the Mussorgsky masterpiece.
Rachmaninoff’s preludes fare equally well. Gornostaeva exhibits beautiful singing lines (Op.23/1), a Richter-like virtuosity (Op. 23/7), and a radience that evoked for me a mental image of the sun breaking through the clouds on a bleak November day (Op. 23/10).
This is a recital simply not to be missed by pianophiles and others who want a stunning example of the Russian school of playing during its golden era.”
Upon graduating from the Moscow State Conservatoire, where she studied with the great Heinrich Neuhaus, Vera Gornostaeva immediately launched her career as an avid performer, pedagogue and an author. In 1958 she accepted a teaching position at the Moscow State Conservatoire, in 1969 was given professorship and in 1966 she earned the title of “Honored Artist of the Russian Federation.”
Starting in the mid-50s, Gornostaeva traveled extensively throughout the Soviet Union, with up to a hundred concerts a year. Her performances were always sold out; halls overflowing with fans trying to hear their favorite pianist. Critics described her playing as “Stupendous,” “Unique,” “A True Artist” and “Simply Outstanding.” Reviewers stated: “Gornostaeva is a natural! She has an envious control of the instrument.” “Recitals, given by Gornostaeva, are never flashy. Her playing is neither mannered nor false. She communicates the true essence of music that she delivers in the most profound way. Whether it is works by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Schumann, Prokofiev or Shostakovich - there is always a great sense of knowledge, intellect and inescapable passion.”
Gornostaeva also involved herself in other educational activities that included leading annual seminars for Russian music teachers; giving frequent radio and television lectures on classical music and the performing arts; frequently publishing articles in newspapers and magazines.
In the late 1980s, Gornostaeva’s Television series entitled the “Open Piano” received great critical acclaim as well as groundbreaking ratings. In 1991, she released a book entitled “Two Hours after the Concert” (In 1994 this book was translated and published in Japan).
Vera Gornostaeva’s career was constricted due to her political and religious beliefs, as well as not being in sync with the Soviet regime. Therefore, she was one of the many who was “blacklisted.” The invitations from the West kept pouring in, but the permission to leave was never granted.
As a result, for over twenty years Gornostaeva was officially deemed politically unreliable. When the iron curtain fell, Ms. Gornostaeva was “set free” and the inevitable happened. The world embraced her with open arms. In France, where she was first invited to give master classes, “Le Monde” published a celebratory article entitled “Gornostaeva’s method.” Her lectures and master classes were triumphant. She immediately accepted invitations from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, England and USA. It was in the early 1990s when Mstislav Rostropovich, a life-long friend, wrote a letter to the Yamaha Music Foundation urging them to get Gornostaeva to come to Japan and start her own studio. Her lessons were instantly sought after. In 1994, NHK TV started national broadcasts of her master classes making her a household name all throughout Japan.
To this day, Gornostaeva continues a very active life as a teacher, propelling the arts and musical education in Russia, and often finds herself chairman of the jury and an adjudicator at many prestigious international music competitions.
In October 2014, Vera Gornostaeva will be celebrating her 85th birthday.
Vladimir Fedoseyev (b.1932)
Artistic director and chief conductor of the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra and permanent guest conductor of Opernhaus Zurich and Zurich Tonhalle. Vladimir Fedoseyev has won numerous international awards: Russia’s order “For Services to the Motherland” and Austria’s Silver Cross for his services to culture (both 1996); the Gold Star from the City of Vienna (2002); the Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, from the Austrian Academy (2005); most recently, the Gold Medal of the International Gustav Mahler society (2007); among others.
In 1974 (same year as this recording is made), Fedoseyev became artistic director and chief conductor of the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, now known as the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra. In addition, from 1997 to 2004 he was a chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, Maestro has worked as a guest conductor with many of the world’s leading orchestras such as the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Köln Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. In the 2004 - 2005 season, he worked as a guest conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras.
Saulius Sondeckis (b.1928)
The international press has invariably commented on his supreme professionalism, refined musical tastes and artistic bravery in conjunction with his attitude to the finest orchestral performing traditions.
In 1960 he founded and remains the Director of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra. At the VI Berlin Contemporary Music Biennale in 1977, the orchestra and its Director were awarded the critics’ prize “For Best Interpretation.” In 1985, Alfred Schnittke composed his Concerto Grosso No.3 to mark the 25th anniversary of the ensemble. As a Guest Conductor, Saulius Sondeckis has appeared with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia, St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium, Berlin Philharmonic, Toronto Philharmonic among others. Saulius Sondeckis has been the recipient of numerous titles, awards and prizes: 1st prize and Gold Medal at the Herbert von Karajan Competition (1963), the State Prize of the USSR (1987), People’s Artist of the USSR (1980) and Professor of the Lithuanian Academy of Music (since 1977). He is a co-founder of the programme The Hermitage Academy of Music and is President of the Hermitage Academy of Music Foundation (since 1997).
Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
was established in 1930. It served as the official symphony for the Soviet All-Union Radio network and was sometimes also known as the USSR State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, or the USSR State Radio Symphony Orchestra. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1993, the Russian Ministry of Culture renamed the orchestra to the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra; in recognition of the central role the music of Tchaikovsky plays in its repertoire. The current music director (since 1974) is Vladimir Fedoseyev.
The State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra)
is based in Moscow, where it performs regularly at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire and at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, along with touring throughout the world. The orchestra was founded in 1936 as the USSR State Symphony Orchestra, with Alexander Gauk as its first music director. The current name was acquired after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The orchestra's longest serving music director was Evgeny Svetlanov, from 1965 to 2000.