The piano music expert and music commentator Attila Csampai recently marveled at the “lasting impression of Gilels’s implacable precision, the energetic clarity and purity of his musical logic, the profound, unshakeable humanity of his messages and a totally unglamorous objectivity”. This new release showcases Russian repertoire, performed by Emil Gilels, with recordings made between 1940-1963. Widely recognized as one of the greatest pianists of all time, Emil Gilels led the way to the West for his generation of Soviet pianists. His American concert debut in 1955 was renowned across the country. With a repertoire ranging from Baroque to twentieth century works, he is universally admired for his superb technical control and burnished tone on recordings.
Among the recordings included here are wonderful performances of the second and third movements from the Fourth Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s B flat minor under Konstantin Ivanov from 1951 (with the stereo 1955 Chicago RCA recording under Reiner as a fill-up, though Gilels in Russia is more compelling). The sound tends to vary from recording to recording but the transfers are in general fine.