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“Play on all boards, not to forget”. The pianist fled from fascism and ended up in the GULAG

«Играла на любых досках, чтобы не забыть». Пианистка бежала от фашизма и попала в ГУЛАГ

This year marked 120 years since the birth of outstanding pianist Vera Lotar-Shevchenko. The actress shone on the European stage, spent many years in Stalin’s camps, and after them remained in Siberia, and lived here more than 30 years, until his death in 1982, writes

«Играла на любых досках, чтобы не забыть». Пианистка бежала от фашизма и попала в ГУЛАГ


“Director of music school № 1 stared at the strange visitor in a prison outfit, which, confusing the Russians and the French word, asked to admit her to the piano to “play concert”. Guest dropped the jacket and for some time sat silently, touching the keys gently stuck a disfigured hand. And suddenly there was a powerful, triumphant sounds of Beethoven’s sonatas. Ran children, the teachers, the lessons stopped. And the pianist, all played and played, anyone not paying attention. She was like a starving person who finally gave a piece of bread” — recalled the first meeting with Vera Lotar-Shevchenko Tatiana Guskova, who took music lessons from an outstanding pianist when she lived in Nizhny Tagil.

It was the early 1950s. Vera Lotar-Shevchenko was just released from the camp. In Moscow and Leningrad back was not allowed. After her release, she first went to the place where you can play.

“French Italian” and “Russian Stradivari”

«Играла на любых досках, чтобы не забыть». Пианистка бежала от фашизма и попала в ГУЛАГ


Many call Faith Lotar (Vera Loutard) French. It is considered that childhood and youth passed in Paris, and the parents taught at the Sorbonne. Write that girl almost since birth was playing the piano already at the age of 12 he performed with the orchestra world-renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini, toured Europe and America, and at 15 he graduated from the Vienna Academy of music.

“Faith she very vividly described how she went to authorities, demanding the release of her husband. It is hard to imagine how she spoke in his broken Russian language, almost without knowing it. “I told them: “You fools and idiots. Don’t you understand that he is innocent? He is an honest man and came to help the Soviet Union to build socialism?” Someone is tired, and she was arrested as the wife of an enemy of the people,” recalled Michael Kachan, Professor, corresponding member of RAE, a writer. He was intimately acquainted with Lotar-Shevchenko.

After the liberation, Vera learned that the two sons Shevchenko died in the bombing. One of the children, Denis Spring (he took the surname of his mother), survived and after some time was in Moscow. Faith correspondence was in touch with him after his release. How close was this communication there was no way to find out: Denis Vladimirovich died in 1991. It is only known that in Siberia, where the second half of life was spent by the Faith she, he never lived.

Vera Lotar-Shevchenko spent in the camps for eight years: arrested her in 1942, she was released in early 1950. She in a sense “lucky”: servitude she was serving in the kitchen. However, the years washing dishes in icy water had terrible consequences — the fingers of the pianist was stricken with arthritis.

“From camp life, she remembers the kitchen, where she had to work for many years. “I have turned over thousands of meatballs” — not once she said. And remember women, prisoners of camps, which was always good to her, supported her, gave her warm clothes. “If not for them, I would not live”, — told Vera she. For them she always left at his concerts the first two series. Just in case. If they come out. Free. It paid for itself — buy tickets”, — says Mikhail Kachan.

The faith she told me how she wanted to play all these years and “played” on any boards, on the kitchen table — as on the piano keyboard, any free minute to not forget.

“The captivating star of happiness”

«Играла на любых досках, чтобы не забыть». Пианистка бежала от фашизма и попала в ГУЛАГ


In the early 1950s in Nizhny Tagil, she was released. Then there was that episode in the music school and hit the students and teachers. In the music school, the Vera Lotar-Shevchenko to arrange agreed, but at first not as a teacher — teaching ex-prisoners to work did not take, — and “Illustrator” on the lessons in musical literature. The teacher told the pupils about the work, and the Faith she had played. Then, she was entrusted and teaching. She gave private lessons.

— Work as a music teacher, no doubt, gave Faith She not only earnings. Contact with the families of the intelligentsia, senior mining-metallurgical-plant city helped not adapted to Soviet reality, bad speaking in Russian, helpless in the everyday sense of the middle-aged woman to “grow” into the life of a foreign country, — said Giorgi Saints.

From Lotar-Shevchenko was more than ten students. George says of the Saints that their families treasured acquaintance with the pianist, and helped as much as possible, and always tried to feed homemade food.

— I became involved with Lothar, just a little learn the basics of piano. Let me Express the opinion: Lotar-Shevchenko was not fit for pedagogical work with children, — says George Saints. She — a child Prodigy, her path to music was unconventional. And the perception of music ordinary teenagers to Lothar, I think, was incomprehensible. Perhaps, many things seemed Lotar-Shevchenko is so obvious that she assumed every child knows about them from nature. And teaching methods used in the Soviet system of music schools, she was unknown.

Lessons — a word about the theory, he recalls. In addition, there was a language barrier: in those years, the Faith she Russian fluently have not yet mastered, but a well-learned dictionary of the Gulag for the music school were not good. So often, all explanations were reduced to screams: “the Sticks, PA-alzy!” and shows how to play the fragment.

All these years for Lotar-Shevchenko chief was to return pianistic technique and to go on stage.

— In Nizhny Tagil restore technique, working up the blood from under his fingernails. I remember after her admission to the Philharmonic who told me that it had presented a repertory piece, which was 200 large forms, says George Saints. — Dream about returning to concert halls, the audience did not leave her even for a minute. Otherwise it is impossible to explain how it was possible to revive touring pianist, which at the time was already over 50, despite the fact that she was for many years deprived of the opportunity even to touch the keyboard.

The salary of music teacher in those years life was impossible, even with such modest requests, like Vera’s Augustovna. Someone advised her to apply to drama theatre. It took an accompanist. And even given a small room in a communal flat where there lived a family of the theatrical artist.

Just at that time in new Tagil theatre invited young Director Vladimir Motyl. Faith she picked up and played music to his performances. When the moth became a famous film Director, he is one of my colleagues suggested to make a documentary about Lotar-Shevchenko, and another — to include some events from her life in the screenplay of the tape. The very same Vladimir Motyl told that the image of a Frenchwoman Pauline Annenkova-Gable, the heroine of his film about the Decembrists and their wives “the captivating Star of happiness”, has the traits of Vera Lothar-Shevchenko. Magazine article about the picture he signed for the Faith of Augustovna: “the Image of Pauline I did with you, Faith!”

“It ought to be for such people”

«Играла на любых досках, чтобы не забыть». Пианистка бежала от фашизма и попала в ГУЛАГ


In the early 1960s, she moved to Barnaul and became a soloist of the Altay regional Philharmonic.

In December 1965 Lotar-Shevchenko gave a recital, I played Bach and Debussy. The combination of these names attracted the attention of the journalist of “Komsomolskaya Pravda” Simon Soloveichik.

Next to me at the concert sat the black-haired male around 35-40 years old — says Boris Arvelo. — He behaved while music is playing quite nervously, he twisted his head, couldn’t calm his hands, like he could add something to the sound of the piano… And constantly asked me questions like: “who is this pianist? And how long have she in Barnaul? Why are there so few people in the hall?” Finally understand my reluctance to communicate, introduced himself: “SIM Soloveichik”. And seeing that it has not made me the slightest impression, added: “the Correspondent of “Komsomolskaya Pravda”.

He soon published an article by Simon Soloveichik “the Pianist”. After it began a whole new stage of life of Vera Lothar-Shevchenko.

Michael Kachan recalled: when I saw the article about Lotar-Shevchenko, he “immediately thought: how would it lure in the Akademgorodok. Here she came to life. Akademgorodok is the place where you want to live with such people”.

«Играла на любых досках, чтобы не забыть». Пианистка бежала от фашизма и попала в ГУЛАГ


The main difficulty, he said, was to convince of the need to allocate the apartment to the pianist, President of the Presidium of SB RAS Mikhail Lavrentyev: “it was widely known that Michael A. believes, the arts and sport as a frivolous Hobbies, distracting attention from the main science.”

Here is how Michael Kachan meeting of the Presidium, which decided this question:

“And there, instantly sweaty and disheveled, like a little Sparrow, academician Leonid Vitalievich Kantorovich. His face was covered with red spots, kind of — very excited. The voice breaks into a falsetto:

— No, it must be signed, — he shouts. Creek he is weak. Voice quiet, even when he shouts. It is very important. She was French and a great pianist. She spent ten years in the camps. Such people are needed in Akademgorodok. She needed…

Much to the surprise Lavrentyev, academician supported by all, without exception, the members of the Presidium. The decision was made. Vera Lotar-Shevchenko goes in Novosibirsk Akademgorodok”.

Love Kachan talked about his impressions from the first concert of Vera Lotar-Shevchenko in Novosibirsk:

“The lights go down and the stage goes modestly, even casually dressed, stooped old woman. It is coming, and you are seized by the feeling that the stage moves a flaming torch. Painted with bright henna-red hair, a toasty cheeks, but eyes flashing such fierce light that they are difficult to put down. She settles back, puts his hands on the keys, you turn your sights on them and… takes you aback. Gnarled, disfigured, arthritic fingers. That you can play these hands? And even more amazing and shocking what you hear after the first sounds. This can only be described in one word: magic — victory of the spirit over infirm body.”

— With Vera She introduced me Kirill Timofeev, Professor at Novosibirsk University and a passionate lover, — says Nikolay Gladkikh. Around Kirill A. there were a lot of young people — students and also special classes we went to concerts, listening to records. And Lotar-Shevchenko was in this circle, what would now be called, “a cult figure”. In her small apartment was going akademgorosoftly cultural “elite”. House concerts she performed a program, and then fulfill the requests of the guests. Then all moved into another room, drinking red wine (me like another student, but the student, poured a bit), coffee, tea. On the wall she hung a lithograph by Picasso, depicting a scene of bullfight. Don’t have the slightest idea about the extent of its authenticity, but I told all my friends that this is the original.

Once I visited Vera Avgustovna and Vladimir Mindolin:

— It was probably 1975. There were four of us: the journalist Yury Danilin, Professor Kirill Timofeev, my mom and me. Talked a little more, laughed over some trifles. On the table was a loaf of bread, olives, and Cabernet. Everything was very simple. Though I grew up in the Opera house, the value of Faith by Augustovna did not understand. But there was a time when I was numb. She played the Adagio, Bach — Busoni and nothing more that night. I heard this thing for the first time. Then I listened to it many times and in different versions, but that previous experience not found anywhere else. She played something Titanic in every sense of the word unique.

Faith she loved to play in front of youth audiences: at music schools, schools, to the students of the Conservatory, at a military school. But especially strong bond she had with the Novosibirsk physics and mathematics school (PMS). There she gave concerts for many years.

In 2017, MSF opened a music hall named Lotar-Shevchenko. It is an old German piano firms Muhlbach 1901 edition. On this Belief she has played all 16 years of his life in Akademgorodok. The piano for a pianist was bought by the family of Alexei Lyapunov, the first Chairman of the academic Council of the physical-mathematical school. Lotar-Shevchenko bequeathed to the school a musical instrument, so he was in the PMS after the death of Faith by Avgustovna in 1982.

At the end of the life of Faith she could not care for themselves. Guys every week I come to her, did cleaning, washed dishes, says Natalia Pashchenko, the former Deputy Director of the school. I was then a student of the PMS. In our class girls was more and Faith she recently was allowed into the apartment for girls only. It was decided to make our class is responsible for assisting her. We went to see her every Thursday — we have just had an off day. She spent about two hours: an hour for cleaning, and then she played to us. It was certainly a very strong impression, — says Natalya Pashchenko.

Natalia Pashchenko recalls was amazed when she came to work in the PMS and saw that the piano Lotar-Shevchenko is “direct debit”.

— How to cheat Royal Lotar-Shevchenko? We offered to restore it, but that it was necessary to replace 80% of the tool and it would lose its value. Her fingers wiped the keys, it was her only joy. We decided to leave them as they are: as a Museum piece and the memory of an amazing woman.

«Играла на любых досках, чтобы не забыть». Пианистка бежала от фашизма и попала в ГУЛАГ


— In a one bedroom apartment Lotar-Shevchenko piano is almost entirely occupied one of the rooms, — says the graduate of the PMS Larissa Lomov. — She used to let us play on it. I was surprised how friendly she was to our exercises. Of course, our level of the game left much to be desired, but she listened to us and praised. Said that, when recovered, will deal with us. I remember that she had on the table was a magazine, think “Soviet screen”, with article about the film “the captivating Star of happiness”. He was signed by the Director for the Faith of Augustovna. I loved this movie, and thought then that Faith she do something similar to the wives of the Decembrists. Much later, already adult, I watched the film “Ruth,” and seeing the heroine Annie Girardot, just remember the Faith She. And then I read that she was the prototype of this character.

…On the grave of Vera Lotar-Shevchenko, on the southern cemetery of Novosibirsk Akademgorodok, embossed with her own phrase: “Life, in which there is Bach, blessed.”

In 2005, in Novosibirsk hosted the first piano festival in memory of Vera Lotar-Shevchenko. Eventually he “outgrew” in the international competition of pianists in her name.

Rehabilitated Vera Lotar-Shevchenko was only seven years after his death, in 1989.
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