Isaac Mikhnovsky was a pupil of Lev Oborin and Konstantin Igumnov. He gave the first performance of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini in the Soviet Union. He was the winner at the First All-Union Piano Competition in 1938 with Serge Prokofiev casting the deciding vote. Among his friends were Emil Gilels, Yakov Flier, Pavel Serebryakov, and his performance at the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Belgium in 1939 was highly acclaimed by Artur Rubinstein.
He was an enthusiastic supporter of the music of contemporary composers as was attested to by his performances of the works of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Poulenc, Bartók, Hindemith, Szymanowski and Schnittke.
So why don't we know of this pianist? Maybe because he applied himself to teaching at the Moscow Conservatory. Maybe for internal political reasons of the inscrutable, Soviet kind. Who can say?
Judging from the meagre handful of recordings that I have been able to locate, Isaac Mikhnovsky was a superlative pianist. Of the three examples given here, the Barcarolle is my own favorite.
Chopin Mazurka in F♯ minor, Op 6~1
recorded in 1966
Chopin Piano Sonata 3 in B minor, Op 58
i Allegro maestoso
14:07 ➢ ii Molto vivace
17:00 ➢ iii Largo
25:42 ➢ iv Presto ma non tanto
recorded in 1968
Chopin Barcarolle in F♯ major, Op 6~1
recorded in 1938
For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background
which is also available as an audiobook.
And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:
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