Dima’s wonderful collection

Born to two immensely gifted parents, the violinist Julian Sitkovetsky and the pianist Bella Davidovich, the great Dmitry Sitkovetsky defected from the Soviet Union in 1977 by feigning mental illness at the age of 22. Now settled in London, he has become one of the world’s great classical violinists and an enormously distinguished conductor.

When he visited The Record Album this summer he brought with him a selection of records from his own classical collection, including a handful of his own recordings. Dima spent the afternoon signing and annotating many of them (and translating some of the Russian and Soviet era records) and we are proud to be offering these records for sale. All are in immaculate condition.

If you have ever wondered what a distinguished musician has in his personal collection, this is your chance to find out. Many of the great composers are represented – from Brahms and Beethoven to Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bartok, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich. And, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach, as Dima is the renowned arranger of the Goldberg Variations for string trio. He has signed a sealed copy of the Orfeo pressing of his performance of that.

The virtuoso violinists and pianists are there: David Oistrach, Itzhak Perlman, Leonard Kogan, Louis Krasner, Ginette Neveu, Sviatoslav Richter and Arthur Grimiaux. The records span a range of labels – Melodia, Archiv, Novalis, Orfeo, Horzu, Eterna, Deutsche Grammophon and Supraphon among them.

And there’s a copy of Paul McCartney’s 1987 compilation ‘Back in the USSR’, which is a nod to the days of Dima’s youth.

Among the most intriguing records are two box sets of recordings of the Soviet pianist Maria Yudina, a Jew who criticised and defied Stalin at significant personal cost. In the 2017 satirical film ‘The Death of Stalin’ one scene is devoted to the night in 1944 when, according to legend, Stalin heard a performance of Mozart’s piano concerto No.23 on the radio performed by Yudina and asked for a copy. As it was a live broadcast, officials had to find and wake Yudina, drive her to a recording studio where a small orchestra had been assembled, and make her record the concerto. One copy was pressed and given to the Soviet dictator.

Highly talented, she was renowned for her idiosyncratic style and tone. Dima has written a short note about her and inserted it in the first box.

Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s selection of more than 100 records is gracing the racks of The Record Album from September 1.