Grigory Sokolov

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Grigory Lipmanovich Sokolov (Russian: Григо́рий Ли́пманович Соколо́в; born April 18, 1950[1]) is a Russian concert pianist and is considered to be one of the greatest living pianists.[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Sokolov began studying the piano at the age of five and he entered the Leningrad Conservatory's special school for children at the age of seven to study with Leah Zelikhman, after graduating from the children's school he continued studying at the Conservatory with Moisey Khalfin.[4] At 12, he gave his first major recital in Moscow, in a concert of works by Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Liszt, Debussy, and Shostakovich at the Philharmonic Society.[5] At age 16, he came to international attention when the jury at the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, headed by Emil Gilels, unanimously awarded him the Gold Medal. It seems this may also have been a surprising result: "16-year old Grisha Sokolov who finally became the winner of that competition was not taken seriously by anyone at that time."[6]

"He possesses brilliant finger and chord technique, he easily wields the piano, so easily that he performs the prestissimo of the last movement of the Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 2 with truly refined lightness. It was a startling performance. Doubtless we are going to hear much more about this young talented pianist..."[5]

In fact, despite the international prestige of his Tchaikovsky Competition success, Sokolov's international career began to flourish only towards the end of the 1980s. It has been said [7] that his not defecting and the limited travelling allowed under the Soviet Regime were to blame. This is contradicted by the fact[5] that Sokolov gave US tours in 1969, 1971, 1975, and 1979, as well as numerous recitals elsewhere in the world such as Finland and Japan. "Sokolov's life as a touring soloist is quite overcrowded. He tours a great deal in both his motherland and abroad."[5]

The 1980s seem to have proved something of a stumbling-block to Sokolov's career in the US. "In the beginning, I played a lot of single concerts in America, in 1969, '71 and, I think, 1975. After that there was a break in relationships between the U.S. and the Soviet Union--they were disconnected by the Afghanistan War. One tour in the U.S. was cancelled in 1980. Then all cultural agreements between the two countries were cancelled."[8] In addition, during the breakup of the former Soviet Union, Sokolov played no concerts outside Russia.[9] He is now a well-known figure in concert halls around Europe, but much less so in the U.S.[10] Sokolov produces very few recordings; his last CD was released in 1995.[10]

In March 2009, it was reported that Sokolov cancelled a planned concert in London because of British visa requirements demanding that all non-EU workers provide fingerprints and eye prints with every visa application (he also cancelled his 2008 concert on seemingly similar grounds). Sokolov protested that such requirements had echoes of Soviet oppression.[11]

Influences[edit]

When asked, Sokolov cited the following pianists as having inspired him in his years of studies: "Of those whom I heard on the stage I'd like to name first of all Emil Gilels. Judging by the records, it was Rachmaninoff, Sofronitsky, Glenn Gould, Solomon [and] Lipatti. As to esthetics, I feel most close to Anton Rubinstein."[5]

Repertoire[edit]

Sokolov has significantly reduced the number of his concerto performances, for the following reason:

"It's very simple. For piano is written an ocean of music, and during your lifetime you are not able to play even a small part of it. Then with orchestra it's not easy to find enough time to rehearse, or to find an orchestra which is interested in the final product and not looking at their watch. It's also not easy with conductors, because you must find the combination of a very good musician who has this special talent to follow and to understand the music in the same way as you. It's very seldom, I must say! And then maybe the worst: if you play a solo piece several times over several days you will develop, going to another level with it, but with a concerto you play this piece more and more, but with each orchestra and conductor you must start again at the first rehearsal. So, if you spend so much energy that you could use much more effectively for recitals, why do you do it? I very much like the fact that everything I make depends only on me. With a hundred people it's almost impossible. You have not the responsibility."[12]

The 10 CDs (2 of Bach, 2 of Beethoven, 2 of Schubert, 2 of Chopin, 1 of Brahms, and 1 of Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev; all recorded by the label Opus 111) and 1 DVD (a live recital in Paris) that are currently (2011) available for Sokolov constitute a snap-shot of the repertoire that Sokolov has so far performed. A more complete repertoire listing is as follows:

  • ARAPOV
    • Concerto for violin, piano and percussion
    • Etude-Scherzo
    • Sonatas No's 1 & 2
  • BACH
    • Art of Fugue
    • English Suite No.2
    • Fantasy & Fugue in a minor, BWV 904
    • French Suite No.3
    • Goldberg Variations
    • Italian Concerto in F major, BWV 971
    • Overture in the French style, BWV 831
    • Partitas Nos. 1, 2, 4 & 6
    • Sonata in A-min after Reinken's Hortus Musicus 1–5, BWV760
    • Toccata in E minor, BWV 914
    • Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, 1–8
    • Well-Tempered Clavier Book II
BACH-SILOTI Prelude in b-min
BACH-BRAHMS Chaconne for the left-hand BWV1004
BACH-BUSONI "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesus Christ" BWV639
BACH-BUSONI "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein" BWV734
  • BEETHOVEN
    • Sonatas Nos. 2, 3, 4, 7, 9–11, 13–17 & 27–32
    • Diabelli Variations
    • Concertos Nos. 1 & 5
    • Rondos Op.51 & Op.129
  • BRAHMS
    • Sonata No.1 in C major, Op.1
    • Sonata No.3 in F minor, Op.5
    • 4 Ballades Op.10
    • Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15
    • Variations on a Theme by Handel Op. 24
    • 2 Rhapsodies Op.79
    • Piano Concerto No.2 in B-flat major, Op.83
    • 7 Fantasies Op.116
    • 6 Klavierstücke, Op.118 - no.1 Intermezzo in A minor; no.2 Intermezzo in A major; no.6 Intermezzo in E flat minor
    • 3 Intermezzi Op.117
  • BYRD
    • Pavan & Galliard MB52
    • Alman MB11
    • Prelude MB12
    • Clarifica me Pater (II) MB48
    • Qui Passe MB19
    • March before the Battle MB93
    • Battle MB94
    • Galliard for Victory MB95
  • CARVALHO-SOKOLOV Toccata and Andante in G
  • CHOPIN
    • Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52
    • Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
    • Etude Op.10 No.8
    • Etudes Op.25
    • Fantasie-Impromptu Op.66
    • Fantasy Op.49
    • Impromptus Op.29, Op.36 & Op.51
    • Mazurkas Op.7 No.2, Op.17 No.4, Op.30 Nos. 1–4, Op.33 No.4, Op.50 Nos. 1–3, Op.63 Nos. 1–3, Op.67 No.2, Op.68 Nos. 2–4, Op.posth
    • Nocturnes Op.32 Nos. 1 & 2, Op.48 Nos. 1 & 2, Op.62 Nos. 1&2, Op.72, Op.posth
    • Polonaise-Fantasie Op.61
    • Polonaises Op.26 Nos. 1 & 2, Op.40 No.2, Op.44, Op.53, Op.posth.
    • Preludes Op.28
    • Sonatas Nos. 2 & 3
    • Waltz No.17 Op.posth
  • COUPERIN
    • Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou les Maillotins
    • Pieces de clavecin Book III Ordre XIII & Ordre XVIII
  • DEBUSSY
    • Canope (from Preludes, Book II, No.10)
  • FRANCK
    • Prelude, Chorale & Fugue
  • FROBERGER
    • Toccata FbWV101
    • Canzon FbWV301
    • Fantasia FbWV201
    • Ricercar FbWV411
    • Capriccio FbWV508
    • Partita FbWV610
  • HAYDN
    • Piano Sonatas Hob XVI: 23, 37 & 34
  • LISZT
    • La Campanella
    • Rhapsodie Espagnole
  • MOZART
    • Concertos Nos. 23 & 24
    • Sonatas KV.280, KV.310, KV.332 & KV.457
    • Fantasy KV.475
  • PROKOFIEV
    • Concerto No.1
    • Sonatas Nos. 3, 7 & 8
  • RACHMANINOV
    • Concertos Nos. 2 & 3
    • Preludes Op2 No.3, Op.23, Op.32 No.5
  • RAMEAU
    • Suite in D de pièces de clavecin (1724) — in his repertory in 2012
    • Suite in G/g de pièces de clavecin (1726) — in his repertory before 2012
    • "Le rappel des oiseaux" & "Tambourin" from Suite in E minor (1724)
  • RAVEL
    • Gaspard de la nuit
    • Oiseaux Tristes (From Miroirs)
    • Prelude
    • Sonatine
    • Tombeau de Couperin
  • SCHUBERT
    • Impromptus D.899 Nos. 1–4, D.935 Nos. 1 & 2, D.946 Nos. 1–3
    • Moment Musicaux D.780
    • Sonatas D537, D.664, D.784, D.850, D.894, D.958, D.959 & D.960
    • Wanderer Fantasy
  • SCHUMANN
    • Carnaval Op.9
    • Sonata No.1 in F-sharp minor, Op.11
    • Sonata No.2 in G minor, Op.22
    • Sonata No.3 in F minor, Op.14
    • Kreisleriana Op.16
    • Fantasie Op.17
    • Arabesque Op.18
    • Humoresque Op.20
    • Novelletten Op.21 nos. 2, 7 & 8
    • 4 Klavierstücke (Scherzo, Gigue, Romance and Fughette) Op.32
    • Variations in E-flat on an Original Theme, WoO 24, "Geister Variations"
  • SCRIABIN
    • Caresse Dansee Op.57 No.2
    • Dèsir Op.57 No.1
    • Enigme Op.52 No.2
    • Etudes Op.2 No.1, Op.8, Op.42 Nos. 4 & 5
    • Feuillet d’Album Op.45 No.1
    • Poème fantastique Op.45 No.2
    • Poèmes Op.32 No.2, Op.69 Nos. 1 & 2
    • Prelude & Nocturne Op.9
    • Preludes Op.33 Nos. 1–4, Op.45 No.3, Op.49 No.2 & Op.51 No.2
    • Sonatas Nos. 1, 3, 4, 9 & 10
    • Vers la flamme Op.72
  • SEIXAS-SOKOLOV Toccatas in D & C

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grigory Sokolov mit Bach, Brahms und Schumann in der Berliner Philharmonie.". Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  2. ^ Jessica Duchen (Sept/Oct 2006 pp.14-18). "International Piano". Rhinegold Publishing.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Bruno Monsaingeon on Grigori Sokolov.". Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  4. ^ "GRIGORY SOKOLOV". NAXOS. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Mark Zilberquit (1983). Russia's Great Modern Pianists. Paganiniana Publications. 
  6. ^ Vladimir Krainev quoted in Russia's Great Modern Pianists, Mark Zilberquit 1983
  7. ^ International Piano September/October 2006
  8. ^ Sokolov quoted in "Pianist left out by the Cold War. US-Russian difficulties kept Grigory Sokolov a mystery to all but those in conservatories." Karen Schaefer, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 4 March 1996
  9. ^ Karen Schaefer, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 4 March 1996
  10. ^ a b Michael Kimmelman (2008-04-17). "When Fame Can’t Cross the Atlantic". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  11. ^ Brown, Ismene (2009-03-04). "Grigory Sokolov's visa woes". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  12. ^ International Piano interview with Jessica Duchen September/October 2006

External links[edit]