J. S. Bach Piano Transcriptions from Russia and the U.S.S.R.
Written by Paul Cooke
Nadia Koudasheva is a young Russian-born Australian pianist, musicologist and teacher. She studied at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she completed a Bachelor of Music (Performance), followed by a Doctor of Musical Arts. She has researched, and here performs, piano transcriptions of Bach’s music by Russian and Soviet musicians, the earliest of whom is Ivan Cherlitsky, whose first set of Bach transcriptions was published in 1844-45. Other transcriptions include those by Rachmaninov’s cousin Alexander Siloti (from Sonata for Solo Violin no 2), Samuil Feinberg (from Organ Sonata no 5) and Tatiana Nikolaeva (Toccata and Fugue in D Minor). I found this album a worthy complement to Antony Gray’s set of Bach transcriptions, which concentrates on transcriptions from Britain and Western Europe, together with a few pieces that could be regarded as original works.
On the few occasions the same Bach piece was chosen in each collection, I thought that the Russian transcriptions and Koudasheva’s performances were just as impressive, with Nikolaeva’s transcription of the Toccata and Fugue, for example, seeming more magisterial than the better-known Reger. Highly recommended.