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Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto 3; Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto 2 / Gilels


Release Date: 03/07/2006 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 45820   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sergei RachmaninovCamille Saint-SaënsDmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Emil Gilels
Conductor:  André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gilels commands every strand of Rachmaninov's thick keyboard writing with effortless mastery, yet with a fullness of tone that never splinters nor loses body in the softest passages.

This disc duplicates Testament SBT 1029, save for the addition of an extra Shostakovich Prelude and Fugue (No. 24) for filler's sake. Collectors who missed the Gilels/Cluytens Rachmaninov Third and Saint-Saëns Second concertos on Testament will want to know that EMI's transfers boast less tape hiss and marginally more definition and amplitude. More importantly, these recordings capture pianist Emil Gilels in his prime, on peak form. He commands every strand of Rachmaninov's thick keyboard writing with effortless mastery, yet with a
Read more fullness of tone that never splinters nor loses body in the softest passages. If Gilels misses some of Horowitz's diabolic edge and harmonic tension, he avoids the older pianist's occasional rhythmic convolutions. As once was common, the finale's meno mosso variation is cut, and Gilels opts for the easier, musically superior cadenza.

In the Saint-Saëns, note the nonchalant evenness and resplendence of Gilels' rapid scales (what a brisk, scintillating honey of a Scherzo!) and an amazingly secure left hand. The few mishaps, smudges, and false entries matter little. However, colorful instrument deployment, imaginative concertante-like details, and crucial thematic material characterize both concertos' orchestra parts: André Cluytens could be an alert and forceful accompanist when so inclined (his Ravel collaborations with Samson François, for instance). Yet for much of the time the orchestra hangs like an anonymous, amorphous backdrop. This won't matter if your interest in these virtuoso showpieces mainly concerns the solo part and you couldn't care less about the orchestra.

The Shostakovich D major prelude's heavily dispatched arpeggiated chords are too outsized for the music's slender dimensions, but Gilels brilliantly delineates the fugue's difficult-to-voice repeated notes in close registers. As the D minor Prelude and Fugue's peaks and valleys momentously unfold under Gilels' watch, the old "iron hand in a mink glove" cliché seems more appropriate than ever.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Emil Gilels (Piano)
Conductor:  André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; Russia 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Emil Gilels (Piano)
Conductor:  André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; France 
3.
Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 5 in D major by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Emil Gilels (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USSR 
4.
Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 24 in D minor by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Emil Gilels (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USSR 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op. 30 (2006 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro ma non tanto
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op. 30 (2006 Digital Remaster): II. Intermezzo (Adagio)
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op. 30 (2006 Digital Remaster): III. Finale (Alla breve)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor Op. 22 (2006 Digital Remaster): I. Andante sostenuto
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor Op. 22 (2006 Digital Remaster): II. Allegro scherzando
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor Op. 22 (2006 Digital Remaster): III. Presto
24 Preludes & Fugues Op. 87 (2003 Digital Remaster): No. 5 in D (Allegretto)
Twenty-Four Preludes & Fugues, Op.87 (2003 Digital Remaster): No.24 in D minor (Andante - Moderato)

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