P0537. YAKOV ZAK, w.Kondrashin Cond. Moscow S.O.: Concerto #4 in g; w.Kondrashin Cond. USSR State S.O.: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; SVIATOSLAV RICHTER, w.Sanderling Cond. USSR RTV Large S.O.: Concerto #1 in f-sharp; LEV OBORIN, w.Gauk Cond.: Concerto #2 in c; w.Ivanov Cond. USSR State S.O.: Concerto #3 in d (all Rachmaninoff). (England) 2-Appian APR 6005, recorded 1949-55. Transfers by Bryan Crimp. Limited availability! - 5024709160051
"Zak died of a heart attack in his early sixties, allegedly brought on by KGB interrogation…his playing combines the refinement of, say, Samuil Feinberg with the muscularity of Gilels."
- Rob Cowan, GRAMOPHONE, Sept., 2007
"Yakov Zak was one of the greatest names in Soviet piano performing and teaching but remained little known abroad, with the possible exception of the United States. From a Jewish family in Odessa like Emil Gilels, three years his junior, he achieved skills worthy of the latter with whom he frequently played in duo. A student of Heinrich Neuhaus, 1st Prize at the Chopin Competition in 1937, with special mention for his interpretation of the mazurkas, his vast repertoire concentrated on Beethoven – late Sonatas, Diabelli Variations – Schubert, Chopin, of course, Brahms with the two Concerti, Rachmaninov's 4th Concerto – preceding Michelangeli – Prokofiev and Medtner, whom he defended with Gilels. Endowed with Olympian technique and a clear, solid sense of form, he remains a model, a humanist whose current discography is amazingly meagre. He died of a heart attack on 28 June 1976, the day after a brutal police interrogation."
“Lev Nikolayevich Oborin was the winner of the first International Chopin Piano Competition in 1927. He studied with Yelena Gnessin, a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni. At the same time, he studied composition with Alexander Gretchaninov and achieved admirable results. In 1921, Oborin was accepted into Moscow Conservatory as a student of piano and composition. He completed his piano studies in 1926. In the same year, news reached Moscow of the First International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, to be held in Warsaw in 1927, and his piano teacher Konstantin Igumnov immediately thought of him. After winning first prize in the competition, he gave concerts in Poland and in Germany. In 1935 he played his first concert with the violinist David Oistrakh, with whom he continued to collaborate all of his life. Until 1945 he performed exclusively in Russia and taught at the Moscow Conservatory at the same time.
Aram Khachaturian dedicated his Piano Concerto in D flat to Oborin, and wrote: ‘When I was working on my concerto I dreamed of hearing it played by Lev Oborin. My dream came true in the summer of 1937. The wonderful performance by this outstanding pianist ensured its success’." During the years 1941 to 1963, Oborin played in a piano trio with David Oistrakh and the cellist Sviatoslav Knushevitsky, achieving international fame. Khachaturian's three concerti, one each for piano, violin and cello, were written for the individual members of this trio. Oborin gave first public performances of the works of several modern composers, including Khachaturian, Shebalin, Myaskovsky, Prokofiev (including the first Violin Sonata [with Oistrakh]), and Shostakovich.
He trained many pianists, including Vladimir Ashkenazy (winner of the second prize at the 1955 Chopin Competition), Anatoly Dokumentov, Mikhail Voskresensky, Dmitri Sakharov, Alexander Bakhchiev, Andrei Egorov, Lev Natochenny, Boris Berman and Olga Kiun. Oborin was a member of the jury of the Fourth and Fifth International Chopin Competitions, and of other competitions in Moscow, Lisbon, Paris, Leeds and Zwickau. He died in 1974, aged 66.”
- Z. D. Akron