A documentary on the life of the Russian pianist, presented by the artist Michael ODNORALOV, who knew Yudina.
One of the people of modern times whose heart was radiantly pure was Maria Yudina, the greatest Russian pianist of the last century. She lived through the Russian revolution and its aftermath, seeing many of her dearest friends and colleagues disappear into the Gulag. She was a fearless Christian at a time when the price of a display of religious faith could be one's work, one's freedom, even one's life. She not only performed piano works but paused during concerts to read the poetry of such writers as Boris Pasternak, who were unable to publish at the time. Her friend, the composer Dmitry Shostakovich remembered: “In a time of heart-stopping fear, here was someone as fearless as Saint George before the dragon, someone who preferred giving away her few rubles to repairing her own broken window, who "published" with her own voice the poems of banned writers, who dared to tell Stalin that he was not beyond God's mercy and forgiveness. She had a large and pure heart. No wonder her grave in Moscow has been a place of pilgrimage ever since her death.” It is said that Yudina’s recording of the Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, was on the record player when Stalin was found dead in his dacha. It was the last thing he had listened to.
An excerpt from The Ladder of the Beatitudes by Jim Forest gives us a glimpse into her intense personality:
For Maria Yudina, music was a way of proclaiming her faith in a period when presses were more carefully policed than pianos. "Yudina saw music in a mystical light. For instance, she saw Bach's Goldberg Variations as a series of illustrations to the Holy Bible," said Shostakovich. "She always played as though she were giving a sermon."