P0716. VIKTOR MERZHANOV: 24 Préludes, Op.28 (Chopin); Grandes Études de Paganini (Liszt); Piano Sonata #5 (Scriabin). (England) Appian APR 5671, recorded 1951-56. Transfers by Bryan Crimp. - 5024709156719
"Merzhanov emerges as a pianistic force to be reckoned with....For pianophiles, this is a 'must'."
- Alan Becker, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2010
"Viktor Merzhanov's playing is sometimes massive, sometimes poetic, sometimes mysterious, and always musical - never are the power and brilliance in the foreground."
- Albert Muhlbock, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2010
”This title continues the Goldenweiser School, the last of the three great teaching traditions to be covered in this comprehensive survey of the many great pianists who worked in Russia in the Soviet era. The bulk of the issues in THE RUSSIAN PIANO TRADITION will be divided into 'schools' which represent the three main teachers of this period - Neuhaus, Goldenweiser and Igumnov, - and their pupils.
One of the youngest pianists to be featured in this series, Victor Merzhanov is more a grand-pupil of Goldenweiser than a pupil, as his major professor was Samuil Feinberg. It seems certain though, that while studying with one of Goldenweiser's most illustrious pupils he would also have had contact with the great man. Merzhanov graduated from the Moscow conservatory in 1942 and, after war service, shared first prize in the 1945 All-Union piano competition with Sviatoslav Richter. He began teaching at the Moscow Conservatoire in 1947 and, at the age of 90, continues to teach and serve on competition juries today.
Merzhanov quickly became renowned as a Rachmaninov interpreter and his recording of the Third Concerto is one of the greatest, he also made the first recording of Prokofiev's Sixth Sonata. He was most prolific in the recording studio in the 1950's and his performances are characterised by peerless technique (witness the Liszt 'Paganini' Studies included here) and a generous, but never self-serving, emotional involvement with the music. Once again the quality of the playing revealed here shows that our view of who are the 'greats' of Soviet pianism has been very much dictated by those performers who had careers in the west. As this series of CDs has shown, Gilels and Richter were not isolated peaks; the likes of Oborin, Zak, and here, Merzhanov, were certainly their musical equals.”
- APR - The Russian Piano Tradition