Tatiana Nikolayeva, piano
Shostakovich came up with an idea of a polyphonic cycle in 1950 after he took part in the events dedicated to the 200th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s death in Leipzig. As a jury member of the International Piano Competition for the best performance of Bach’s music, Shostakovich was a witness of an unconditional triumph of the young Soviet pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva who won the first prize. Upon finishing the new opus in a surprisingly short period of time (October 1950 to February 1951), Shostakovich dedicated it to Nikolayeva who performed it for the first time in 1952 in Leningrad. Since then the 24 Preludes and Fugues have been played by many pianists, but Tatiana Nikolayeva’s interpretation is still considered a model one.
Internally, each of the preludes and fugues is individual. Nevertheless, the whole cycle is united with the same composer’s idea. Marina Sabinina, a researcher of Shostakovich’s music, named the 24 Preludes and Fugues a “true encyclopedia of Shostakovich’s mature style.” The infinite wealth of images – lyrical, pastoral, tragic, grotesque, carefree and joyous – puts this work among the highest achievements of Shostakovich’s music which was a worthy successor of the great traditions laid down by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Tatiana Nikolayeva made this recording of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues in 1987.