Galina Ustvolskaya was Shostakovich’s favourite pupil. He even said to her: “you are a phenomenon, while I am but a talent”. Her piano works, uncompromising granite sculptures, feature sharp and extreme dynamic contrasts, cluster chords and use of the extreme registers of the keyboard, while their spiritual message is one of infinite despair and passionate protest (whether against the Soviet regime, or against human existence in general). Ivan Sokolov (b.1960), Russian pianist and composer, was one of Ustvolskaya’s favoured interpreters, and his playing bears a monumental and authorative stamp of uthenticity.
Recording: October 1995, Studio of Moscow Radio House
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