P1113. Yakov Zak, w.Kurt Sanderling Cond.Leningrad S.O.: Concerto #2 in b-flat (Brahms); w.Kurt Sanderling Cond.USSR Radio S.O.: Concerto #2 in g (Prokofiev). (Czech Republic) Praga PRD 350 054. Final copy! - 794881896028
"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."
- Z. D. Akron