Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky, Gilels, Reiner|
Piano Concerto / Nutcracker Suites
You gotta have at least one recording of this most Russian of piano concertos played by a Russian pianist, right? The fact is, most of the greatest ones have not been by Russians, perhaps reflecting the history of the co... more »
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You gotta have at least one recording of this most Russian of piano concertos played by a Russian pianist, right? The fact is, most of the greatest ones have not been by Russians, perhaps reflecting the history of the concerto itself, which was rejected by Anton Rubinstein, its Russian dedicatee, and premiered by the German conductor/pianist Hans von Bulow--in Boston of all places. Gilels is the exception that proves the rule, however, for here is a super interpretation by one of Russia's best pianists. Having Fritz Reiner and Chicago on hand to handle the accompaniment virtually guarantees the best possible results from all concerned, but let's give Gilels his due. It's a great recording. --David Hurwitz
M. Fisher | San Diego, CA | 07/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have 8 recordings of Tchaikovsky's 1st by Gilels; I would say this one ranks in Gilels' top 3 (of his recorded performances). The orchestral accompaniment Gilels' receives from Reiner and the Chicago is better than first-rate (if that is possible!).
One of the previous reviewers mentioned distracting tape splicings, but they are hardly noticeable, even on high-end equipment and unforgiving headphones. Of the easily available Gilels' recordings of the 1st, buy this one! Gilels certainly eclipses Cliburn and Horowitz in this work (Richter isn't on the map)."
Joe Anthony (a.k.a. JAG 1) | 08/15/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This classic performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto is one of the great ones, but some serious glitches in the recording itself are extremely distracting. At several (at least three) points in the first movement, the sound suddenly changes, so that the level drops or the piano-tone sounds very different, or the soloist-orchetra balance is altered. The reasons for this are not clear to me, though I know that it is not a manufacturing defect. If you're looking for a recording of this concerto, you would do better to buy Marth Argerich's 70's studio recording with the Royal Philharmonic under Charles Dutoit (search for "Argerich Tchaikovsky Dutoit"), which is similarly magnificent but doesn't force you to accept any sonic glitches."
Simply outstanding for both selections
kreisleriana16 | Minneapolis, MN USA | 05/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Contrary to our friend in St. Louis who spends most of his time nit-picking technical audio alleged problems, this is an outstanding performance. For those who do not know or may have forgotten, Giles was the first of the Soviet exchange artists who ventured over to the US to perform after the Geneva conference in the summer of 1955. (The other key person was violinist David Oistrach). The recording was made in October, 1955 and was released in record (no pun intended) breaking time for the holidays by RCA. It was probably my first LP that I purchased and it was played to death. It was recorded on Oct 22, 1955 and bought on December 1st on RCA LM-1969. RCA dropped the full price release in 1961 only to reissue it any number of times). There has been a bit of confusion as to whether RCA recorded the entire or parts of the concerto in stereo or not (which might account for some of the criticism from our friend in St. Louis). We know that RCA was experimenting with stereo (Rubinstein's Brahms' d minor concerto, for example). According to the LP's liner notes the session went on for five hours with both conductor and pianist reviewing the work movement by movement. My bassoon teacher played in the CSO at that time and was more than impressed with what he observed on that cold October Saturday.As a musician first I have to admit that some of our audiophiles tend to over emphasise the audio rather than what is the main course: the performance itself. There again is the pity of it all: placing the performance as secondary. While it might be nice to have ultra-high end components the only thing better than listening to a piece of music is to play it. One of the reasons some of the old 78's are so important is the fact that we hear an almost live performance. There was no such thing as splicing or editing. If one needs proof just listen to the last movement of the 1930's Horowitz recording of the Rachmoninoff 3rd where entire clusters of notes seem to get dropped. The point is this: good music is best appreciated for what it is rather than what it is being played on. Unless an there is such a grave audio glich that a common person can catch and it and it can harm the performance the performance itself must remain as the primary objective of why it is being listened to.I have to confess, that on the other hand there is nothing that equals a live performance: what you hear is what you get. According to the liner notes the recording session was done one movement at a time. Perhaps there were make-overs where a note or two might have been dropped. Would it have been better if those minor mistakes were left in making the performance as close to "live" as possible? Is absolute perfection more important than a live performance? Some artists today prefer to do "live performances". Ironically, before the period where perfection was more important than musicianship, even the best of performers were known to drop notes or - in the case of a very famous concert pianist, simply stop in the middle of a performance due to a memory lapse during a live broadcast.Getting back to the Tchaikovsky: this is an electrifying performance that is a must have not only for the performance but for its historical value. Giles had outstanding technique as displayed in some of the more difficult passages in each of the movements. The orchestra gives him the support he needs. The conducting is up to the high standards that Reiner was able to produce. As for comparisons, the fantastic Argerich live performance on Philips remains one of the most spectacular recordings released in the past decade. How does it compare with Giles: both our outstanding but in some cases the Giles might hold the edge for the historic and political motivation behind it. With so many different recordings available at this time this work has all but become a warhorse, the above two can easily be recommended with little or no hesitation.The Nutcracker Excerpts are also worth having. A real pity that RCA could not have found the time to allow Reiner to do the entire ballet. The ensemble playing is absolutly outstanding. If one does not wish to have the entire ballet and will settle for something more than just the traditional suite this is a must have."