For this release, pianist Dina Ugorskaja has recorded Book I and II of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier in Cooperation with Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich.
On interpreting these works, Dina writes: “One essential aspect in this project was the experience of returning to my early encounters with Bach’s music: to try to remember what it had been like when I heard it for the first time. I tried to free myself from certain clichés that had ‘gotten stuck’ in a series of interpretations. This was particularly difficult in Volume I, since I had often heard those pieces in the hands of outstanding performers.”
Dina Ugorskaja gave her debut performance when she was only seven years old in the Philharmonic Hall at Saint Petersburg. Not only is she an outstanding pianist, she is also a vocalist specializing in early music, and has written a number of chamber works.
In September 2019 Dina Ugorskaja passed away in the age of 46, and left her recordings as a testament.
Born in Leningrad (now once more Saint Petersburg) into an artistic family of Jewish origin, Dina
Ugorskaja started learning the piano when she was young, as well as voice and composition. In
1990, when she was fifteen years old, she became the target of anti-Semitic threats; her family had
to leave the Soviet Union abruptly, and they fled together to Germany.
The “philosopher at the piano” has made herself a name with a performance style marked by profound sensitivity and sobriety.
Her engagements have led her to make solo appearances at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Herkulessaal in Munich, the Sala Verdi in Milan, and Radio France Auditorium in Paris. She has been invited to perform at festivals including the Schubertiade in Feldkirch and the Kassel Music Festival.
Dina Ugorskaja is also passionately committed to chamber
music: for instance, ever since her participation at Lars Vogt’s chamber music festival Spannungen
in Heimbach, she has formed a duo together with the renowned cellist Tanja Tetzlaff.
2019 marked the 10th anniversary of her fruitful collaboration with the CAvi-Music label. In coproduction with Bavarian Radio (Munich), she has released recordings of Handel suites, late Schumann works, the six last Beethoven sonatas, and both volumes of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier – all of which have been praised by critics.
Regarding her recording of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata,
Eleonore Büning wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine: The immense Adagio sostenuto, bearing the
indication that it is to be played ‘passionately and with much feeling’, is rendered as a sublime,
radiant hymn, and one would no longer want to hear it any other way.
Regarding her recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier, Crescendo magazine wrote in October 2016: The listener does not feel directly addressed, but rather as the silent witness of these intimate dialogues between Bach, God, and the universe – thanks to the fact that Dina Ugorskaja always maintains a noble distance that protects the inner fragility of Bach’s musical discourse. […] This is an impressive manifesto for the freedom of the human intellect.” Ugorskaja’s recordings for CAvi-music have been repeatedly nominated for the International Classical Music Awards and for the German Music Critics’ Prize. Her last album with works by Schubert received the ICMA award posthum.
Dina Ugorskaja passed away after a long period of illness in September 2019.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.
Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.