Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy|
Gilels' artistry shines despite mistakes.
Robert L. Berkowitz | Natick, MA United States | 08/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording documents and preserves a live performance of Emil Gilels at the Salzburg Festival in August 1972. Gilels played a varied recital of Mozart, Brahms, Debussy and Stravinsky. As usual, his recording displays his sensitivity and beauty. The Mozart sonata on this CD was new to me. I was totally engaged by this performance. Gilels' tone is round and pleasing and his phrasing is pristine. Gilels always had a special affinity for Brahms. His performance of the 2nd concerto with Jochum still ranks as one of the most beautiful ever recorded. More than any other pianist, there is an inner peace -- a deep inner beauty -- that Gilels manages to convey. One does not get lost in the notes but the essential music comes through. I think that is why he is forgiven the mistakes that one can hear on his live recordings. In this account of the masterful Fantasien Op. 116 , there is a mildly distracting error in the first piece and a re-start in the final capriccio, but the rest of the set is so utterly beguiling in its musicality that one forgets the mistakes. Even with the mistakes, I prefer this set to his studio recording on DG.His Debussy Images, especially Reflets dans l'eau, is my standard for this piece.The recital ends with a performance of Stravinsky's 3 movements from Petrushka. This is not the same performance as one can hear on the Great Pianist Series volume 35 (Emil Gilels II) which is masterful. But, like the other works on this CD, it has that special excitement that comes only with hearing an unaltered live performance. This CD is a worthy addition to any collection of Gilels' discography."
* * 1/2 A review at odds with those below me...
John Grabowski | USA | 03/06/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"...And undoubtedly above me, by the time you read this.
I am a great admirer of Gilels. I saw this recital and saw the music on it--some of my very favorite--and decided to snap it up. The reviews would suggest I was wise to do so. But I can't say I'm as enthused about this disc as everyone else.
Gilels starts with Mozart, in what may be my very favortie sonata, or at the very least one I don't think is played nearly as often as it should be. But this is a thick, clunkly, slow and graceless interpretation. The jeweled delicacy, the intricacy, is lost here. Instead this is Mozart the way indeed Russians in the Iron curtain days are stereotypically supposed to have played Mozart: hard, heavy and without color. I almost, seriously, didn't recognize the piece.
The Brahms and Debussy fare much better. Anyone who's heard Gilels' two Brahms concerto recordings with Jochum on DG know what a magnificent Brahms player this pianist can be. The Op. 116 are some of my favorite Brahms, and while this performance doesn't displace my favorites (Katchen, Kovacevich, Kempff--all Ks, apparently) it is great. Ditto his Debussy, which is light, dreamy and graceful, and beautifully-understated. I wish this part of the disc were longer.
Then we arrive at The Big Number, Petrushka. I guess just being able to tackle this should earn him some brownie points, but this is far from an ideal performance, much as I respect him for taking on the work. The many hues necessary for a successful interpretation are not there--it's a "one note" Petrushka. Also rhythmically it often isn't clear where things are going, and the different sections don't have a lot of separate character. Interestingly, Gilels plays one brief passage I have never heard played in this work before. I don't know if the other pianists are playing edited versions or what. There are times here, however, when it sounds as though Gilels is just about to derail. It's a heroic effort, but it can't compare to Pollini, Kissin or Ugorski.
Sound is about average for the time (1970s live). As much as I love Gilels, I wouldn't say this CD is essential. For completists maybe, but that's about it.
The intellectual pianism of Gilels in one of his most famous
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 11/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite of the fact the well know interpretative coldness that constituted almost a trademark of this notable pianist, I want to recommend you with special emphasis this historical performance of August 17 1972, a live recording made in Salzburg.
The jewels of the crown were Mozart, Brahms and Debussy. I think his Stravinsky lacks of Siberian flame and this required touch of fierce wildness.
Admirable recordings that have become through the years in cult performances. I knew about this performance thanks to a friend of mine who was present and told me about this legendary recital in 1973.
Totally recommended without reserves.