Myron Polyakin (Miron Polyakin) |
Musicians Instrumentalists

Myron Polyakin (Miron Polyakin) |

Miron Polyakin

Date of birth
Date of death
the USSR

Myron Polyakin (Miron Polyakin) |

Miron Polyakin and Jascha Heifetz are two of the most prominent representatives of the world-famous violin school of Leopold Auer and, in many ways, two of its antipodes. Classically strict, severe even in pathos, the courageous and sublime play of Heifetz sharply differed from the passionately excited, romantically inspired play of Polyakin. And it seems strange that both of them were artistically sculpted by the hand of one master.

Miron Borisovich Polyakin was born on February 12, 1895 in the city of Cherkasy, Vinnitsa region, into a family of musicians. The father, a gifted conductor, violinist and teacher, began to teach his son music very early. Mother possessed by nature outstanding musical abilities. She independently, without the help of teachers, learned to play the violin and, almost without knowing the notes, played concerts at home by ear, repeating her husband’s repertoire. The boy from early childhood was brought up in a musical atmosphere.

His father often took him to the opera with him and put him in the orchestra next to him. Often the baby, tired of everything he saw and heard, immediately fell asleep, and he, sleepy, was taken home. It could not do without curiosities, one of which, testifying to the exceptional musical talent of the boy, Polyakin himself later liked to tell. The musicians of the orchestra noticed how well he mastered the music of those opera performances, which he had repeatedly visited. And then one day the timpani player, a terrible drunkard, overwhelmed by a thirst for drink, put little Polyakin at the timpani instead of himself and asked him to play his part. The young musician did an excellent job. He was so small that his face was not visible behind the console, and his father discovered the “performer” after the performance. Polyakin at that time was a little over 5 years old. Thus, the first performance in the musical field in his life took place.

The Polyakin family was distinguished by a relatively high cultural level for provincial musicians. His mother was related to the famous Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem, who repeatedly visited the Polyakins at home. Sholom Aleichem knew and loved their family well. In the character of Miron there were even features of similarity with the famous relative – a penchant for humor, keen observation, which made it possible to notice typical features in the nature of the people he met. A close relative of his father was the famous operatic bass Medvedev.

Miron played the violin reluctantly at first, and his mother was very distressed about this. But already from the second year of study, he fell in love with the violin, became addicted to classes, played drunkenly all day long. The violin became his passion, subdued for life.

When Miron was 7 years old, his mother died. The father decided to send the boy to Kyiv. The family was numerous, and Miron was left virtually unattended. In addition, the father was worried about his son’s musical education. He could no longer direct his studies with the responsibility that the gift of a child demanded. Myron was taken to Kyiv and sent to a music school, the director of which was an outstanding composer, a classic of Ukrainian music N. V. Lysenko.

The amazing talent of the child made a deep impression on Lysenko. He entrusted Polyakin to the care of Elena Nikolaevna Vonsovskaya, a well-known teacher in Kyiv in those years, who led the violin class. Vonsovskaya had an outstanding pedagogical gift. In any case, Auer spoke of her with great respect. According to the testimony of Vonsovskaya’s son, professor of the Leningrad Conservatory A. K. Butsky, during visits to Kyiv, Auer invariably expressed his gratitude to her, assuring her that her pupil Polyakin came to him in excellent condition and he did not have to correct anything in his game.

Vonsovskaya studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Ferdinand Laub, who laid the foundations of the Moscow school of violinists. Unfortunately, death interrupted his pedagogical activity early, however, those students whom he managed to educate testified to his remarkable qualities as a teacher.

First impressions are very vivid, especially when it comes to such a nervous and impressionable nature as Polyakin’s. Therefore, it can be assumed that the young Polyakin to one degree or another learned the principles of the Laubov school. And his stay in Vonsovskaya’s class was by no means short-lived: he studied with her for about 4 years and went through a serious and difficult repertoire, up to the concerts of Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky. The son of Vonsovskaya Butskaya was often present at the lessons. He assures that, studying with Auer, Polyakin, in his interpretation of Mendelssohn’s Concerto, retained much from Laub’s edition. To some extent, therefore, Polyakin combined in his art elements of the Laub school with the Auer school, of course, with the latter’s predominance.

After 4 years of study with Vonsovskaya, at the insistence of N. V. Lysenko, Polyakin went to St. Petersburg in order to complete his education in the class of Auer, where he entered in 1908.

In the 1900s, Auer was at the height of his pedagogical fame. Students flocked to him literally from all over the world, and his class at the St. Petersburg Conservatory was a constellation of bright talents. Polyakin also found Ephraim Zimbalist and Kathleen Parlow at the conservatory; At that time, Mikhail Piastre, Richard Burgin, Cecilia Ganzen, and Jascha Heifetz studied under Auer. And even among such brilliant violinists, Polyakin took one of the first places.

In the archives of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, examination books with notes by Auer and Glazunov about the success of students have been preserved. Admired by the game of his student, after the 1910 exam, Auer made a short but extremely expressive note against his name – three exclamation marks (!!!), without adding a word to them. Glazunov gave the following description: “The execution is highly artistic. Excellent technique. Charming tone. Subtle phrasing. Temperament and mood in the transmission. Ready Artist.

For all his teaching career at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Auer made the same mark twice more – three exclamation points: in 1910 near the name of Cecilia Hansen and in 1914 – near the name of Jascha Heifetz.

After the 1911 exam, Auer writes: “Outstanding!” In Glazunov, we read: “A first-class, virtuoso talent. Amazing technical excellence. Captivating natural tone. The show is full of inspiration. The impression is amazing.”

In St. Petersburg, Polyakin lived alone, far from his family, and his father asked his relative David Vladimirovich Yampolsky (uncle of V. Yampolsky, long-term accompanist D. Oistrakh) to look after him. Auer himself took a great part in the fate of the boy. Polyakin quickly becomes one of his favorite students, and usually stern to his pupils, Auer takes care of him as best he can. When one day Yampolsky complained to Auer that, as a result of intensive studies, Miron began to overwork, Auer sent him to the doctor and demanded that Yampolsky strictly comply with the regimen assigned to the patient: “You answer me for him with your head!”

In the family circle, Polyakin often recalled how Auer decided to check whether he was doing the violin correctly at home, and, having appeared secretly, he stood outside the doors for a long time, listening to his student play. “Yes, you will be good!” he said as he entered the room. Auer did not tolerate lazy people, whatever their talent. A hard worker himself, he rightly believed that true mastery was unattainable without labor. Polyakin’s selfless devotion to the violin, his great industriousness and ability to practice all day conquered Auer.

In turn, Polyakin responded to Auer with ardent affection. For him, Auer was everything in the world – a teacher, educator, friend, second father, stern, demanding and at the same time loving and caring.

Polyakin’s talent matured unusually quickly. On January 24, 1909, the first solo concert of the young violinist took place in the Small Hall of the Conservatory. Polyakin played Handel’s Sonata (Es-dur), Venyavsky’s Concerto (d-moli), Beethoven’s Romance, Paganini’s Caprice, Tchaikovsky’s Melody and Sarasate’s Gypsy Melodies. In December of the same year, at a student evening at the conservatory, he performed together with Cecilia Ganzen, performing the Concerto for two violins by J.-S. Bach. On March 12, 1910, he played parts II and III of the Tchaikovsky Concerto, and on November 22, with the orchestra, the Concerto in g-moll by M. Bruch.

Polyakin was selected from Auer’s class to participate in the solemn celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, which took place on December 16, 1912. Part I of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto “was superbly played by Mr. Polyakin, a talented student of Auer,” wrote music critic V. Karatygin in a brief report on the festival.

After the very first solo concert, several entrepreneurs made profitable offers to Polyakin to organize his performances in the capital and other cities of Russia. However, Auer categorically protested, believing that it was too early for his pet to embark on an artistic path. But still, after the second concert, Auer decided to take a chance and allowed Polyakin to make a trip to Riga, Warsaw and Kyiv. In Polyakin’s archive, reviews of the metropolitan and provincial press about these concerts have been preserved, indicating that they were a great success.

Polyakin stayed at the conservatory until the beginning of 1918 and, having not received a certificate of graduation, went abroad. His personal file has been preserved in the archives of the Petrograd Conservatory, the last of the documents of which is a certificate dated January 19, 1918, given to “a student of the Conservatory, Miron Polyakin, that he was dismissed on vacation to all cities of Russia until February 10, 1918.”

Shortly before that, he received an invitation to come on tour to Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Signed contracts delayed his return to his homeland, and then the concert activity gradually dragged on, and for 4 years he continued touring the Scandinavian countries and Germany.

Concerts provided Polyakin with European fame. Most reviews of his performances are imbued with a sense of admiration. “Miron Polyakin appeared before the Berlin public as a complete violinist and master. Extremely satisfied with such a noble and confident performance, such perfect musicality, accuracy of intonation and finishing of the cantilena, we surrendered to the power (literally: survived. – L.R.) of the program, forgetting about ourselves and the young master … “

In early 1922, Polyakin crossed the ocean and landed in New York. He came to America at a time when remarkable artistic forces were concentrated there: Fritz Kreisler, Leopold Auer, Jasha Heifetz, Efrem Zimbalist, Mikhail Elman, Tosha Seidel, Kathleen Larlow, and others. The competition was very significant, and the performance in front of the spoiled New York the public became especially responsible. However, Polyakin brilliantly passed the test. His debut, which took place on February 27, 1922 at Town Hall, was covered by several major American newspapers. Most of the reviews noted first-class talent, remarkable craftsmanship and a subtle sense of the style of the pieces performed.

Polyakin’s concerts in Mexico, where he went after New York, were a success. From here he again travels to the USA, where in 1925 he receives first prize at the “World Violin Competition” for the performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto. And yet, despite the success, Polyakin is drawn to his homeland. In 1926 he returned to the Soviet Union.

The Soviet period of Polyakin’s life began in Leningrad, where he was given a professorship at the conservatory. Young, full of energy and creative burning, an outstanding artist and actor immediately attracted the attention of the Soviet musical community and quickly gained popularity. Each of his concerts becomes a significant event in the musical life in Moscow, Leningrad or in the cities of the “periphery”, as the regions of the Soviet Union, remote from the center, were called in the 20s. Polyakin plunges headlong into a stormy concert activity, performing in philharmonic halls and workers’ clubs. And wherever, in front of whomever he played, he always found an appreciative audience. His fiery art captivated equally inexperienced in music listeners of club concerts and highly educated visitors to the Philharmonic. He had a rare gift to find the way to people’s hearts.

Arriving in the Soviet Union, Polyakin found himself in front of a completely new audience, unusual and unfamiliar to him either from concerts in pre-revolutionary Russia or from foreign performances. Concert halls were now visited not only by the intelligentsia, but also by workers. Numerous concerts for workers and employees introduced the broad masses of the people to music. However, not only the composition of the philharmonic audience has changed. Under the influence of the new life, the mood of the Soviet people, their worldview, tastes and requirements for art also changed. Everything aesthetically refined, decadent or salon was alien to the working public, and gradually became alien to the representatives of the old intelligentsia.

Should Polyakin’s performing style have changed in such an environment? This question can be answered in an article by the Soviet scientist Professor B. A. Struve, written immediately after the death of the artist. Pointing to the truthfulness and sincerity of Polyakin as an artist, Struve wrote: “And it must be emphasized that Polyakin reaches the peak of this truthfulness and sincerity precisely in the conditions of creative improvement in the last fifteen years of his life, it is the final conquest of Polyakin, the Soviet violinist. It is no coincidence that Soviet musicians at the first performances of the master in Moscow and Leningrad often noted in his playing something that could be called a touch of “variety”, a kind of “salon”, sufficiently characteristic of many Western European and American violinists. These traits were alien to Polyakin’s artistic nature, they ran counter to his inherent artistic individuality, being something superficial. In the conditions of Soviet musical culture, Polyakin quickly overcame this shortcoming of his.

Such a contrasting of Soviet performers with foreign ones now seems too straightforward, although in some part it can be considered fair. Indeed, in the capitalist countries during the years when Polyakin lived there, there were quite a few performers who were inclined towards refined stylization, aestheticism, outward variety and salonism. At the same time, there were many musicians abroad who remained alien to such phenomena. Polyakin during his stay abroad could experience different influences. But knowing Polyakin, we can say that even there he was among the performers who were very far from aestheticism.

To a large extent, Polyakin was characterized by an amazing persistence of artistic tastes, a deep devotion to the artistic ideals brought up in him from a young age. Therefore, the features of “variety” and “salonness” in Polyakin’s performing style, if they appeared, can be spoken of (like Struve) only as something superficial and disappeared from him when he came into contact with Soviet reality.

Soviet musical reality strengthened in Polyakin the democratic foundations of his performing style. Polyakin went to any audience with the same works, not being afraid that they would not understand him. He did not divide his repertoire into “simple” and “complex”, “philharmonic” and “mass” and calmly performed in a workers’ club with Bach’s Chaconne.

In 1928, Polyakin once again traveled abroad, visiting Estonia, and later limited himself to concert tours around the cities of the Soviet Union. In the early 30s, Polyakin reached the heights of artistic maturity. The temperament and emotionality characteristic of him earlier acquired a special romantic sublimity. After returning to his homeland, Polyakin’s life from the outside passed without any extraordinary events. It was the usual working life of a Soviet artist.

In 1935 he married Vera Emmanuilovna Lurie; in 1936 the family moved to Moscow, where Polyakin became a professor and head of the violin class at the School of Excellence (Meister shule) at the Moscow Conservatory. Back in 1933, Polyakin took an ardent part in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Leningrad Conservatory, and in early 1938 – in the celebration of its 75th anniversary. Polyakin played Glazunov’s Concerto and that evening was at an unattainable height. With sculptural convexity, bold, large strokes, he recreated sublimely beautiful images in front of the enchanted listeners, and the romance of this composition surprisingly harmoniously merged with the romance of the artist’s artistic nature.

On April 16, 1939, the 25th anniversary of Polyakin’s artistic activity was celebrated in Moscow. An evening was held in the Great Hall of the Conservatory with the participation of the State Symphony Orchestra conducted by A. Gauk. Heinrich Neuhaus responded with a warm article on the anniversary. “One of the best pupils of the unsurpassed teacher of violin art, the famous Auer,” Neuhaus wrote, “Polyakin this evening appeared in all the brilliance of his skill. What especially captivates us in the artistic appearance of Polyakin? First of all, his passion as an artist-violinist. It is hard to imagine a person who would do his job with more love and devotion, and this is no small thing: it is good to play good music on a good violin. It may seem strange, but the fact that Polyakin does not always play smoothly, that he has days of success and failure (comparative, of course), for me once again emphasizes the real artistry of his nature. Whoever treats his art so passionately, so jealously, will never learn to produce standard products – his public performances with factory accuracy. It was captivating that on the day of the anniversary, Polyakin performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto (the first thing in the program), which he had already played thousands and thousands of times (he played this concert wonderfully as a young man – I remember especially one of his performances, in the summer in Pavlovsk in 1915), but he played it with such excitement and trepidation, as if he were not only performing it for the first time, but as if he were performing it for the first time before a large audience. And if some “strict connoisseurs” could find that in places the Concerto sounded a little nervous, then it must be said that this nervousness was the flesh and blood of real art, and that the Concerto, overplayed and beaten, sounded again fresh, young, inspirational and beautiful. .

The end of Neuhaus’s article is curious, where he notes the struggle of opinions around Polyakin and Oistrakh, who had already won popularity at that time. Neuhaus wrote: “In conclusion, I would like to say two words: in our public there are “Polyakins” and “Oistrakhists”, as there are “Hilelists” and “Flierists”, etc. Regarding the disputes (usually fruitless) and the one-sidedness of their predilections, one recalls the words once expressed by Goethe in a conversation with Eckermann: “Now the public has been arguing for twenty years about who is higher: Schiller or me? They would do better if they were glad that there are a couple of good fellows who are worth arguing about. Clever words! Let’s really rejoice, comrades, that we have more than one pair of fellows worth arguing about.

Alas! Soon there was no longer any need to “argue” about Polyakin – two years later he was gone! Polyakin died in the prime of his creative life. Returning on May 21, 1941 from a tour, he felt unwell on the train. The end came quickly – the heart refused to work, cutting off his life at the zenith of his creative flourishing.

Everyone loved Polyakin, his departure was experienced as a bereavement. For a whole generation of Soviet violinists, he was the high ideal of an artist, artist and performer, by which they were equal, who they bowed to and learned from.

In a mournful obituary, one of the closest friends of the deceased, Heinrich Neuhaus, wrote: “… Miron Polyakin is gone. Somehow you do not believe in the calming of a person who is always restless in the highest and best sense of the word. We in Polyakino cherish his ardent youthful love for his work, his incessant and inspired work, which predetermined the unusually high level of his performing skills, and the bright, unforgettable personality of a great artist. Among the violinists there are outstanding musicians like Heifetz, who always play so in the spirit of the composers’ creativity that, finally, you stop noticing the individual characteristics of the performer. This is the type of “Parnassian performer”, “Olympian”. But no matter what work Polyakin performed, his playing always felt a passionate individuality, some kind of obsession with his art, due to which he could not be anything other than himself. The characteristic features of Polyakin’s work were: brilliant technique, exquisite beauty of sound, excitement and depth of performance. But the most wonderful quality of Polyakin as an artist and a person was his sincerity. His concert performances were not always equal precisely because the artist brought his thoughts, feelings, experiences with him to the stage, and the level of his playing depended on them … “

All those who wrote about Polyakin invariably pointed to the originality of his performing art. Polyakin is “an artist of extremely pronounced individuality, high culture and skill. His style of playing is so original that one has to speak of his playing as playing in a special style – Polyakin’s style. Individuality was reflected in everything – in a special, unique approach to the performed works. Whatever he played, he always read the works “in a Polish way.” In each work, he put, first of all, himself, the excited soul of the artist. Reviews about Polyakin constantly talk about the restless excitement, the hot emotionality of his game, about his artistic passion, about the typical Polyakin “nerve”, creative burning. Everyone who has ever heard this violinist was involuntarily amazed at the sincerity and immediacy of his experience of music. One can really say about him that he is an artist of inspiration, high romantic pathos.

For him, there was no ordinary music, and he would not have turned to such music. He knew how to ennoble any musical image in a special way, make it sublime, romantically beautiful. Polyakin’s art was beautiful, but not by the beauty of abstract, abstract sound creation, but by the beauty of vivid human experiences.

He had an unusually developed sense of beauty, and for all his ardor and passion, he never overstepped the boundaries of beauty. Impeccable taste and high demands on himself invariably protected him from exaggerations that could distort or in some way violate the harmony of images, the norms of artistic expression. Whatever Polyakin touched, the aesthetic sense of beauty did not leave him for a single moment. Even the scales Polyakin played musically, achieving amazing evenness, depth and beauty of sound. But it was not only the beauty and evenness of their sound. According to M. I. Fikhtengolts, who studied with Polyakin, Polyakin played scales vividly, figuratively, and they were perceived as if they were part of a work of art, and not technical material. It seemed that Polyakin took them out of a play or a concert and endowed them with a specific figurativeness. The most important thing is that the imagery did not give the impression of being artificial, which sometimes happens when performers try to “embed” an image into a scale, deliberately inventing its “content” for themselves. The feeling of figurativeness was created, apparently, by the fact that Polyakin’s art was such by nature.

Polyakin deeply absorbed the traditions of the Auerian school and, perhaps, was the purest Auerian of all the pupils of this master. Recalling Polyakin’s performances in his youth, his classmate, a prominent Soviet musician L. M. Zeitlin, wrote: “The boy’s technical and artistic playing vividly resembled the performance of his famous teacher. At times it was hard to believe that a child was standing on the stage, and not a mature artist.

Polyakin’s aesthetic tastes are eloquently evidenced by his repertoire. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and of the Russian composers Tchaikovsky and Glazunov were his idols. Tribute was paid to virtuoso literature, but to the one that Auer recognized and loved – Paganini’s concertos, Ernst’s Otello and Hungarian Melodies, Sarasate’s Spanish dances, performed by Polyakin incomparably, Lalo’s Spanish symphony. He was also close to the art of the Impressionists. He willingly played violin transcriptions of Debussy’s plays – “Girl with Flaxen Hair”, etc.

One of the central works of his repertoire was Chausson’s Poem. He also loved Shimanovsky’s plays – “Myths”, “The Song of Roxana”. Polyakin was indifferent to the latest literature of the 20s and 30s and did not perform plays by Darius Miio, Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Bela Bartok, not to mention the work of lesser composers.

There were few works by Soviet composers until the end of the 30s (Polyakin died when the heyday of Soviet violin creativity was just beginning). Among the available works, not all corresponded to his tastes. So, he passed Prokofiev’s violin concertos. However, in recent years, he began to awaken interest in Soviet music. According to Fikhtengoltz, in the summer of 1940 Polyakin worked with enthusiasm on Myaskovsky’s Concerto.

Does his repertoire, his performing style, in which he remained basically faithful to the traditions of the Auer school, testify that he “lagged behind” the movement of art forward, that he should be recognized as a performer “out of date”, inconsistent with his era, alien to innovation? Such an assumption in relation to this remarkable artist would be unfair. You can go forward in different ways – denying, breaking the tradition, or updating it. Polyakin was inherent in the latter. From the traditions of the violin art of the XNUMXth century, Polyakin, with his characteristic sensitivity, selected that which effectively connected with the new worldview.

In Polyakin’s playing there was not even a hint of refined subjectivism or stylization, of sensitivity and sentimentality, which made themselves felt very strongly in the performance of the XNUMXth century. In his own way, he strove for a courageous and stern style of play, for expressive contrast. All reviewers invariably emphasized the drama, the “nerve” of Polyakin’s performance; Salon elements gradually disappeared from Polyakin’s game.

According to Professor of the Leningrad Conservatory N. Perelman, who for many years was Polyakin’s partner in concert performances, Polyakin played Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata in the manner of violinists of the XNUMXth century – he performed the first part quickly, with tension and drama emanating from virtuoso pressure, and not from the inner dramatic content of each note. But, using such techniques, Polyakin invested in his performance such energy and severity that brought his playing very close to the dramatic expressiveness of the modern performing style.

A distinctive feature of Polyakin as a performer was drama, and he even played lyrical places courageously, strictly. No wonder he was best at works that require intense dramatic sounding – Bach’s Chaconne, concertos by Tchaikovsky, Brahms. However, he often performed Mendelssohn’s Concerto, however, he also introduced a shade of courage into his lyrics. The courageous expressiveness in Poliakin’s interpretation of Mendelssohn’s concerto was noted by an American reviewer after the violinist’s second performance in New York in 1922.

Polyakin was a remarkable interpreter of Tchaikovsky’s violin compositions, in particular his violin concerto. According to the memoirs of his contemporaries and the personal impressions of the author of these lines, Polyakin dramatized the Concerto extremely. He intensified the contrasts in every way in Part I, playing its main theme with romantic pathos; the secondary theme of the sonata allegro was filled with inner excitement, trembling, and the Canzonetta was filled with passionate entreaty. In the finale, Polyakin’s virtuosity again made itself felt, serving the purpose of creating a tense dramatic action. With romantic passion, Polyakin also performed such works as Bach’s Chaconne and the Brahms Concerto. He approached these works as a person with a rich, deep and multifaceted world of experiences and feelings, and captivated the listeners with the immediate passion of conveying the music he performed.

Almost all reviews of Polyakin note some kind of unevenness in his playing, but it is usually always said that he played small pieces flawlessly.

Works of small form were always finished off by Polyakin with extraordinary thoroughness. He played each miniature with the same responsibility as any work of large form. He knew how to achieve in miniature the stately monumentality of style, which made him related to Heifetz and, apparently, was brought up in both by Auer. Polyakin’s songs of Beethoven sounded sublimely and majestically, the performance of which should be assessed as the highest example of the interpretation of the classical style. Like a picture painted in large strokes, Tchaikovsky’s Melancholic Serenade appeared before the audience. Polyakin played it with great restraint and nobility, without a hint of anguish or melodrama.

In the miniature genre, Polyakin’s art captivated with its extraordinary diversity – brilliant virtuosity, grace and elegance, and sometimes capricious improvisation. In Tchaikovsky’s Waltz-Scherzo, one of the highlights of Polyakin’s concert repertoire, the audience was captivated by the bright accents of the beginning, the capricious cascades of passages, the whimsically changing rhythm, and the quivering tenderness of lyrical phrases. The work was performed by Polyakin with virtuoso brilliance and captivating freedom. It is impossible not to recall also the hot cantilena of the artist in the Hungarian dances of Brahms-Joachim and the colorfulness of his sound palette in the Spanish dances of Sarasate. And among the plays of small form, he chose those that were characterized by passionate tension, great emotionality. Polyakin’s attraction to such works as “Poem” by Chausson, “Song of Roxanne” by Szymanowski, close to him in romanticism, is quite understandable.

It is hard to forget Polyakin’s figure on the stage with his violin held high and his movements full of beauty. His stroke was large, each sound somehow extraordinarily distinct, apparently due to the active impact and no less active removal of the fingers from the string. His face burned with the fire of creative inspiration – it was the face of a man for whom the word Art always began with a capital letter.

Polyakin was extremely demanding of himself. He could finish one phrase of a piece of music for hours, achieving the perfection of sound. That is why he so cautiously, with such difficulty, decided to play a new work for him in an open concert. The degree of perfection that satisfied him came to him only as a result of many years of painstaking work. Due to his exactingness to himself, he also judged other artists sharply and mercilessly, which often turned them against him.

Polyakin from childhood was distinguished by an independent character, courage in his statements and actions. Thirteen years old, speaking in the Winter Palace, for example, he did not hesitate to stop playing when one of the nobles entered late and began to noisily move chairs. Auer sent many of his students to carry out rough work to his assistant, Professor I. R. Nalbandian. Nalbandyan’s class was sometimes attended by Polyakin. One day, when Nalbandian spoke to a pianist about something during class, Miron stopped playing and left the lesson, despite attempts to stop him.

He had a sharp mind and rare powers of observation. Until now, Polyakin’s witty aphorisms, vivid paradoxes, with which he fought his opponents, are common among musicians. His judgments about art were meaningful and interesting.

From Auer Polyakin inherited great industriousness. He practiced the violin at home for at least 5 hours a day. He was very demanding of accompanists and rehearsed a lot with each pianist before going on stage with him.

From 1928 until his death, Polyakin taught first at the Leningrad and then at the Moscow Conservatories. Pedagogy in general occupied a rather significant place in his life. Still, it is difficult to call Polyakin a teacher in the sense in which it is usually understood. He was primarily an artist, an artist, and in pedagogy also proceeded from his own performing skills. He never thought about problems of a methodical nature. Therefore, as a teacher, Polyakin was more useful to advanced students who had already mastered the necessary professional skills.

Showing was the basis of his teaching. He preferred to play pieces to his students rather than “tell” about them. Often, showing, he was so carried away that he performed the work from beginning to end and the lessons turned into a kind of “Polyakin’s concerts”. His game was distinguished by one rare quality – it seemed to open wide prospects for the students for their own creativity, prompted new thoughts, awakened imagination and fantasy. The student, for whom Polyakin’s performance became the “starting point” in the work on the work, always left his lessons enriched. One or two such demonstrations were enough to make it clear to the student how he needs to work, in which direction to move.

Polyakin demanded that all the students of his class be present at the lessons, regardless of whether they play themselves or just listen to the game of their comrades. Lessons usually began in the afternoon (from 3 o’clock).

He played divinely in the class. Rarely on the concert stage did his skill reach the same heights, depth and completeness of expression. On the day of Polyakin’s lesson, excitement reigned at the conservatory. The “public” crowded into the classroom; in addition to his students, pupils of other teachers, students of other specialties, teachers, professors and simply “guests” from the artistic world also tried to get there. Those who could not get into the classroom listened from behind the half-closed doors. In general, the same atmosphere prevailed as once in Auer’s class. Polyakin willingly allowed strangers into his class, as he believed that this increased the responsibility of the students, created an artistic atmosphere that helped him to feel like an artist himself.

Polyakin attached great importance to the work of students on scales and etudes (Kreutzer, Dont, Paganini) and demanded that the student play the learned etudes and scales to him in class. He was not engaged in special technical work. The student had to come to the class with the material prepared at home. Polyakin, on the other hand, only “along the way” gave any instructions if the student did not succeed in one or another place.

Without specifically dealing with technique, Polyakin closely followed the freedom of playing, paying special attention to the freedom of the entire shoulder girdle, the right hand and the clear fall of the fingers on the strings in the left. In the technique of the right hand, Polyakin preferred large movements “from the shoulder” and, using such techniques, he achieved a good feeling of her “weight”, free execution of chords and strokes.

Polyakin was very stingy with praise. He did not take into account the “authorities” at all and did not skimp on sarcastic and caustic remarks addressed to even deserved laureates, if he was not satisfied with their performance. On the other hand, he could praise the weakest of the students when he saw his progress.

What, in general, can be said about Polyakin the teacher? He certainly had a lot to learn. By the power of his remarkable artistic talent, he had an exceptional impact on his students. His great prestige, artistic exactingness forced the youth who came to his class to selflessly devote themselves to work, brought up high artistry in them, awakened a love for music. Polyakin’s lessons are still remembered by those who were lucky enough to communicate with him as an exciting event in their lives. Laureates of international competitions M. Fikhtengolts, E. Gilels, M. Kozolupova, B. Feliciant, concertmaster of the symphony orchestra of the Leningrad Philharmonic I. Shpilberg and others studied with him.

Polyakin left an indelible mark on Soviet musical culture, and I would like to repeat after Neuhaus: “The young musicians brought up by Polyakin, the listeners to whom he brought great pleasure, will forever keep a grateful memory of him.”

L. Raaben

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