Russia’s Moral Conscience in Music

Perhaps the world’s greatest living pianist, the Russian, Grigorii Sokolov, has rarely given an interview. He rarely talks of anything other than music or instruments. He has never sought a platform for his opinions. And his stage, since the fall of the Soviet Union unveiled his prodigious talents to the rest of the world, has always encompassed the length and breadth of continental Europe. Never beyond. He is not just a Russian, but first and foremost a European at heart: indeed, the two hearts beat in one breast, as Goethe had it. The greater part of his oeuvre takes in Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Liszt, Beethoven, Couperin and Rameau, as much if not more than the greatest Russians, and there, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev rather than Tchaikovsky.

Listen to his tender and fiercely moving rendering of Prokofiev’s 7th Sonata, written during the siege of Stalingrad at the most horrific phase of the Great Patriotic War, and who could not think now of Ukraine at the pounding of the notes and the explosions of strident chords. The war against Ukraine has inevitably aroused within him searing emotion that given his total dedication to music found a powerful but quietly symbolic outlet at a concert in Austria towards the end of last month where it was announced that he was donating his not inconsiderable fee to Ukraine’s Red Cross.

No wonder, then, that Komsomol’skaya pravda asked the speaker of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, whether he felt society was divided as those in the artistic world – “show business” – were critical of “the special operation.”

5 мая 2022 18:00
Вячеслав Володин: «В российском обществе нет раскола, есть консолидация»
Спикер Госдумы Вячеслав Володин ответил на вопросы журналистов «Комсомолки» в эфире радио «КП»

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