Lazar Berman

Biography

Born: February 26, 1930; Leningrad, Russia   Died: February 6, 2005; Florence, Italy  
Hailed by some as the third primary figure among great Russian pianists of the twentieth century's second half, Lazar Berman has occasionally lived up to that reputation, but frequently has not. Emil Gilels, the first genius-level Soviet pianist to become well-known in the West, insisted that there was one artist, yet unheard in the West, who was the greater artist. Later, after Sviatoslav Richter's arrival in Europe and America, most felt Gilels Read more had been correct. Still later, however, Gilels maintained that yet another pianist, Lazar Berman, was the finest of the three. After the initial stir created by Berman's 1976 American tour and other appearances in the West, critical opinion held that, while he was an extraordinary if uneven artist, he was not superior to the protean Richter or to the clear-minded Gilels. Still, his art was of an order by no means common.

Trained at first by his mother, Anna Makhover, a former student of the pre-Revolutionary St. Petersburg Conservatory, Berman at age three and a half was placed under the tutelage of Samary Savschinsky at the Leningrad Conservatory and gave his first public performance at age four. When his family moved to Moscow in 1939, Berman came to the attention of the celebrated pianist Alexander Goldenweiser, who instructed young Lazar first at the Moscow Central Children's Music School, later at the Moscow Conservatory. Just a year after the move, Berman performed Mozart with the Moscow Philharmonic. Berman remained at the Conservatory through his post-graduate studies, completing his work there in 1957 after having won prizes at Brussels' Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1956 and at the Franz Liszt Competition in Budapest. During a tour of the West, he recorded Beethoven's Appassionata and Liszt's Sonatas for piano in B minor in London. The recording whetted appetites for more Berman performances, but the pianist was forbidden to travel further between 1959 and 1971 owing to his having taken a French wife.

Meanwhile, recordings of Liszt, made for the Soviet Melodiya label, found their way to Europe and America, keeping alive interest in Berman's astounding technique and brio in the Romantic repertory. Once he was able to resume foreign tours in the mid-'70s, Berman's reputation rose to stratospheric levels as audiences praised not only his seemingly unshakeable technique, but also his musical authority. His 1976 American tour played to sold-out houses and brought him return bookings, as well as debuts in London, Paris, and other major Continental centers. His recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic became a best-seller.

After the flourishes waved his way in the 1970s, Berman's critics began to focus on the pianist's limitations. Surely, there were few who could play Liszt as he did, or Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Scriabin. The composers of pre-Romantic times, however, were another matter. The strictures of that age were uncongenial to one so overtly big-boned in technique, so openly Romantic in temperament. Then in 1980, the discovery of forbidden American literature in his luggage led to another ban on foreign travel. The Soviets did recognize his importance by making him an Honored Artist in 1988, but after the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Berman abandoned Moscow in 1990 to teach in Norway and Italy, making his home in the latter country ever since and acquiring Italian citizenship in 1994. In later life he taught at Imola and performs with his violinist son, Pavel. Read less

There are 37 Lazar Berman recordings available.

Select a specific Composer or Label or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below

or

Biography

Born: February 26, 1930; Leningrad, Russia   Died: February 6, 2005; Florence, Italy  
Hailed by some as the third primary figure among great Russian pianists of the twentieth century's second half, Lazar Berman has occasionally lived up to that reputation, but frequently has not. Emil Gilels, the first genius-level Soviet pianist to become well-known in the West, insisted that there was one artist, yet unheard in the West, who was the greater artist. Later, after Sviatoslav Richter's arrival in Europe and America, most felt Gilels Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
I. Allegro
II. Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Tempo I
III. Adagio sostenuto, appassionato e con molto sentimento
IV. Largo - Allegro risoluto
I. Allegro con brio
II. Menuet
III. Finale: Presto
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 In E Flat, S.124 - 1. Allegro maestoso
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 In E Flat, S.124 - 2. Quasi adagio - Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 In E Flat, S.124 - 3. Allegro marziale animato
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 In A, S.125 - 1a. Adagio sostenuto assai
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 In A, S.125 - 2. Allegro agitato assai
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 In A, S.125 - 3. Allegro moderato - Allegro deciso -
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 In A, S.125 - 4. Allegro deciso
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 In A, S.125 - 5. Marziale un poco meno allegro
Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 In A, S.125 - 6. Allegro animato - Stretto
Liszt: Venezia e Napoli, S.162 (Rev. Version 1859) supplement to Années de Pelerinage, 2ème année: Italie (S.161) - 1. Gondoliera
Liszt: Venezia e Napoli, S.162 (Rev. Version 1859) supplement to Années de Pelerinage, 2ème année: Italie (S.161) - 2. Canzone
Liszt: Venezia e Napoli, S.162 (Rev. Version 1859) supplement to Années de Pelerinage, 2ème année: Italie (S.161) - 3. Tarantella
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1 In B Flat Minor, Op.23 - 1. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso - Allegro con spirito
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1 In B Flat Minor, Op.23 - 2. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo I
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1 In B Flat Minor, Op.23 - 3. Allegro con fuoco
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Promenade. Allegro giusto, nel modo rustico, senza allegrezza, ma poco sostenuto - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Gnomus.Sempre vivo
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Promenade.Moderato commodo assai e con delicatezza - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - The Old Castle.Andantino molto cantabile e con dolore
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Promenade.Moderato non tanto,pesamente - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - The Tuileries Gardens.Allegretto non troppo troppo,capriccioso
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Bydlo.Sempre moderato,pesante
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Promenade.Tranquillo - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Ballet of the Chickens in Their Shells
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle.Andante.Grave-energico - Andantino
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Promenade.Allegro giusto,nel modo russico, poco sostenuto - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - The Market-place at Limoges.Allegretto vivo,sempre scherzando - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - The Catacombs (Sepulchrum romanum).Largo - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - Con mortuis in lingua mortua.Andante non troppo,con lamento
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - The Hut on Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yaga).Allegro con brio,feroce - Andante mosso - Allegro molto - attacca
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - for Piano - The Great Gate of Kiev.Allegro alla breve.Maestoso.Con grandezza
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 1. Scene. Allegretto
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 2. Menuet. Assai moderato
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 3. Juliet the young girl. Vivace
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 4. Masks. Andante marciale
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 5. The Montagues and Capulets. Allegro pesante
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 6. Friar Laurence. Andante espressivo
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 7. Mercuzio
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 8. Dance of the young girls. Andante con eleganza
Prokofiev: Pieces for piano from "Romeo and Juliet" Op.75 - 9. Romeo and Juliet before separation. Lento
1. Allegro maestoso
2. Quasi adagio - Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato
3. Allegro marziale animato
1a. Adagio sostenuto assai
2. Allegro agitato assai
3. Allegro moderato - Allegro deciso -
4. Allegro deciso
5. Marziale un poco meno allegro
6. Allegro animato - Stretto


YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In