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Priest George Chistyakov: Maria Yudina

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Priest George Chistyakov: Maria Yudina

September 9, 120 years ago, the famous pianist Maria Yudina was born, who was more than just a musician. An ardent believer, despite Soviet times, a Christian, she was convinced that the artist should be poor. Helped the afflicted, lived very modestly. About Maria Yudina in the book “In Search of the Eternal City. The meeting with Christ ”(publishing house“ Nicaea ”) recalls the priest George Chistyakov. We publish the chapter "Maria Yudina" in the author’s edition.

In 1948, the "famous" decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU on formalism in music was published. A meeting was held immediately in the old building of the Union of Composers on Gottwald Street, where they smashed with great enthusiasm for "confusion instead of music" (Zhdanov's expression) and generally for the incompatibility of creativity with the socialist reality and the communist ideology of the "formalists" (Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Shebalin) the composers themselves, it seems, with the participation of Zhdanov.

The meeting is over. Shostakovich, pale as chalk, completely lost, crushed and, most importantly, in a complete vacuum (the composers left, pretending that Dmitry Dmitrievich was simply not in the hall), one went out into the street. Here, also alone, Yudin was waiting for him.

As Professor Lev Evgrafov, a student of Maria Veniaminovna and a famous cellist, told me, she, who did not recognize any flowers and forbade her friends to give them to her after concerts, was waiting for him at the door with a huge bouquet of roses. When Shostakovich came out, she knelt before him and said: "You are a great composer, you are a great musician, you are a great man."

A student of Lev Platonovich Karsavin (she studied at the conservatory and at the university at the same time and then was friends with the closest student of Karsavin, professor Elena Cheslavovna Skrzhinsky), Yudina remained a person of the beginning of the century until the end of her life. She was afraid of nothing and did not hide her religiosity, openly quoted Vladimir Solovyov, who was forbidden then, and publicly showed his attitude to the "only correct" ideology.

Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Prokofiev were among the composers, whom she constantly performed. It was she who first introduced the listener to Hindemith, Messian, Webern and Schoenberg in Russia. Performed and then very young Andrei Volkonsky. In a letter to Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Yudina wrote: "I have been looking for (and finding) new all my life." Although in reality Yudin was not specifically concerned with the vanguard of the first half of our century, it was not the era of Picasso, with which critics sometimes unsuccessfully compared her, but everything new in general, she was constantly called the propagandist of avant-garde. Her is a passionately believing Orthodox Christian, almost a nun, dressed extremely simply and always in black.

This may seem strange and, most importantly, atypical, but, searching and finding new things, Yudina realized her faith in Him who “creates everything new” (see Rev. 21: 5). Since the 1920s, she began working on the radio. In the last years of her life, recording a lot (usually at the Gnesins' institute), she was always surprised if the recording was done in a monovariant, although the era of stereo recording was only just beginning. She was interested in modern fashion, and literature of recent years, and poets of the 1960s, whom she, who died in November 1970, managed to read and love.

However, the main love of Yudina was Bach. During a trip to the German Democratic Republic, she, an overweight elderly woman, went through the whole of Leipzig to his grave in the church of St. Thomas, barefoot, like a medieval pilgrim. With what power, in her performance, the Bach organ fugue, played on just a cabinet piano in the very small hall of the Scriabin Museum, sounded, I, then, almost a child, I will never forget. The most powerful organ does not always sound like that.

Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert – these are three more composers who are infinitely loved by her. Of the Russian authors, she singled out Mussorgsky (especially “Pictures from the Exhibition”) and Taneyev. At the same time, Yudin was often reproached for playing not great composers, but for herself. I do not know if this deserves a reproach, but she really invested in the execution of herself.

One of her students, Marina Drozdova, writes: “Yudina did not like to be called a pianist, naturally feeling like a musician; she was warped by the words of a virtuoso, a technique related to her and making her something completely alien and alien. ” Yudin’s piano studied in Petrograd with L.V. Nikolaev (together with Shostakovich and Sofronitsky), but she was considered a musicologist by B. L. Yavorsky (a great thinker, unfortunately known only to musicologists), artist Vl. Favorsky and, of course, father Pavel Florensky (the last time she said this in a conversation recorded a few weeks before her death). And this is no coincidence. With her amazing technique, the main thing in her performance was far from technology.

Yudina did not play, but went through every composition and always talked a lot about what kind of music this or that music evokes, what visual images she evokes in her mind. In a letter to M. F. Gnesin, she wrote: “To call the listener to follow me along the“ corridor ”of concepts, images, entire layers of culture and the world – this is what I dream about.” So, speaking of Debussy, Yudina emphasized, as Lev Yevgrafov says, that "impressionism is the East, knights in the East."

In general, with these reflections, says Lev Evgrafov, she “fanned the imagination” of the musician, made it possible to see what sounds in this music not in the sense of notes, but “behind notes”. At the same time, as another student of her notes, “she never directly associated music with specific images. No wonder she attached exceptional importance to the word quasi – "as if" ". Her imagination seemed necessary in order to get to the depths in everything, “to the very essence” (as Pasternak says), to the sources and foundations. Where – as in the culture of the Old Testament – there is no room for art, it should be replaced by imagination. That is how Yudina, who was born in a Jewish family and knew what the second commandment was, could have reasoned firsthand. In this sense, she was incredibly similar to St. Teresa of Avila, also from a Jewish family.

Comparing Mahler with Yavorsky, Yudina wrote that both were distinguished by “fanaticism, self-burning flames, the same absolute incorruptibility, the same martyr, supposedly prosaic, honesty of a craftsman who works not for fear, but for conscience and perishing in media res – “In the middle of the matter”. ” These words can be attributed to Yudina herself with her unconditionally “self-burning ardor”.

It was no accident, therefore, that her piano sounded like an entire orchestra. This ascending, as they say, to Ferruccio Busoni style of playing the piano she developed to the maximum. “When I played a topic loudly,” says I. G. Stuchinskaya, who studied with Yudina in the late 1920s in Petrograd, “she was angry, saying that all the fabric should be heard, that the topic is only the first among equals, that she should be as if on the crest of a wave. The theme is the title, it must always be pronounced significantly, and artificially highlighting the theme, I play in the same voice, lowering the remaining voices to the level of accompaniment, which, of course, contradicts Bach's polyphonic concept. ”

In Orthodoxy, which she chose for herself, and far from immediately, but as a result of a long spiritual search, Yudina was most attracted, as she herself said, by his mercy – pity, special and sacrificial kindness. Throughout the winter of 1941-1942 (of course, refusing to leave Moscow) she passed in sandals and a soldier’s greatcoat, in the very first days of the war she enrolled herself and recorded one of her most talented students in nursing courses, then worked in a hospital and gave concerts at the same time – almost daily. And she worked all the time, rehearsing for many hours. “Art is hard work, not fun,” she once told listeners during a concert.

And the last one. While rehearsing, Yudina “repeated the work many times in a row from beginning to end … but almost never,” says Marina Drozdova, “did not learn individual difficult places.” This method of work is extremely exhausting and requires a lot of endurance and long steady attention, however, “one of its advantages is that the work is seen as if from a bird's eye view, which gives greater organicity and integrity to the form.” This was the titanism of Yudina. It is probably not surprising that, having been at her house, one young man then said: “I have the impression that I was with Goethe.”

First published: Russian Thought. 1999. No. 4290 (October 28 – November 3). S. 19. (Under the heading "Self-burning flames.")

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