Born Bernette Epstein in Boston in 1920 of Russian heritage, Yara Bernette’s family moved to Brazil when she was six months old. Her first piano teacher was José Kliass, like Claudio Arrau a pupil of Martin Krause, who in turn had been a pupil of Liszt. Both Arrau and Arthur Rubinstein were supportive of her and she made her American debut in 1949 at the New York Town Hall. In 1955, she made her European debut in Paris with Heitor Villa-Lobos on the podium. She was also a sought-after teacher and in 1972 joined the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg where she remained for some twenty years. Her North American debut in New York’s Town Hall was unanimously acclaimed: ‘Yara Bernette has the most beautiful piano tone this listener has heard all winter. She is a clear-headed musician, moreover with an intelligent approach to her art. There is temperament in her too, and warmth. Everything is beautiful in detail and sensible in conception’ (Virgil Thompson, New York Herald Tribune).
When this recording – her only one for Deutsche Grammophon – was issued on LP, playing time limitations meant that three of the Preludes had to be excluded from the record – Op. 23 No. 3 and Op. 32 Nos. 11 and 13. Bernette’s suggestion that the recording be spread across two LPs in order to accommodate the additional playing time required was not agreed to by the company. The ‘missing’ preludes are now restored and re-inserted into the original sequence and Yara Bernette’s recording of Rachmaninov’s two opuses is presented complete for the first time.
10 Preludes, Op. 23
13 Preludes, Op. 32
Yara Bernette, piano
FIRST RELEASE ON CD
FIRST EVER RELEASE OF PRELUDES, OP. 23 NO. 3 AND OP. 32 NOS. 11 & 13
Executive Producer: Karl Faust
Recording Producer: Hansjoachim Reiser
Balance Engineer: Heinz Wildhagen
Tape Editors: Jobst Eberhardt, Gernot Westhäuser
Recording Location: Plenarsaal der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich, Germany, 14-18 April 1969
‘she plays the pieces exquisitely. A very fine mistress of the keyboard, Mis Bernette sails into all the difficulties with perfect aplomb and without every confusing pianism with egotism. Her basic sound has sheen and solidity, attractive coloristic variety, and a superb, singing clarity.’ High Fidelity Magazine