Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Gilels Ossiach 1971 Recital- Mozart Sonata K310; Beethoven S
Charles Andrew Whitehead | Fort Worth, Texas | 07/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Emil Gilels is well known as a Beethoven interpreter. His approach is characterized by a full bodied sound in piano and forte, complete virtuosity and a structural sense that gives clarity to both local and global musical events. His tempos make sense within an entire movement or whole sonata (he doesn't need to slow down dramatically for the 2nd subject in Op.53's first mvmt.) and he will mostly maintain a tempo with slight fluctuations. The Mozart K310 first and third movements do not err from the starting tempo and are all the better for it. Likewise the Schumannesque 2nd mvmt. of Op.101 with it's incessant dotted rhythms and so one is never in doubt what Beethoven has written when the syncopated notes become the pulse of the music. The virtuosity never makes hearing Beethoven's textures or working out of ideas a difficult task yet the tension of the music is not lost- an impressive feat. The music comes from great consideration and discipline rather than a purely instinctive place.
His playing in the Op.101 finale may not reach the ultimate level of exuberance due in part to making successive 16th note groups sound with too much the same articulated intensity and in the Op.53 first movement the 16th note tremolos are too loud after the first fermata (also in the same place at the recap). Nor does he succeed in conveying the sense of what Beethoven was searching for in some of his more daring pedal markings. His pianism which goes to the bottom of the key is always powerful but doesn't always float his sound out or have the same variety of nuance, especially within softer dynamics like Kempff more often acheives. Nevertheless, there is not a better Op.101 on DVD in my opinion- a lyrical fantasia-like work which Edwin Fischer stated as affording greater interpretive difficulties than any of the last 3 sonatas. Beethoven consistently used fugues in his later works to unleash a highly concentrated emotional expression (eg.Op.106, Op.110 etc.) and Gilels has the full measure of technique, clarity and architectural build of the fugue in the last movement of Op.101. Additionally, from the episode before the coda in the Finale of Op.53 there is an absolutely thrilling conclusion to the sonata complete with octave glissandi and an entirely convincing musical flow of ideas which Gilels' playing evinces in general.
The full magnitude of a great piece can never fully be exposed in a single interpretation and that is what makes it equally fascinating to view Gilels (VAI Op.26), Solomon (EMI Op.57), Kempff (EMI Op.90), Arrau (EMI Op.111), Perahia (Sony LD Op.2 No.3), Gould (Sony LD Op.110 mvmts. 3 and 4), Ashkenazy (Teldec LD Op.109), Serkin (Op.53 last movement live in Japan), Barenboim (EMI Op.2-111 live in Berlin) and others in Beethoven, each offering individual but valid approaches with varying degrees of this quality or that. The DVDs make it fascinating to to see different approaches to piano technique and we are able to see how they match up to our understanding of the music, as best we know it. The live 1971 sound and color film are very good and camera angles are not distracting and serve Gilels art and the music well. Also recommended listening- Gilels Brahms 2nd Concerto with Chicago and Reiner (RCA), Tchaikovsky Concerto (VAI DVD), Prague recital playing Haydn Cmin. Sonata , Chopin 2nd Sonata (Multisonic), Chopin 3rd Sonata (DG or Steinway Legends), Chopin Concerto No.1 with Ormandy (Sony), Beethoven Sonatas Op.81a, 90 (Revelation), Concertos 4 and 5 with Ludwig (EMI), Cmin. Variations, Bach G maj. French Suite (Philips), Scriabin Sonata No.4 , Shostakovich Piano Sonata No.2 and Prokovief Sonatas 2, 3 and also 8 (premiered by Gilels)."
FW | Pasadena, CA USA | 06/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Prior to watching this DVD, I knew Emil Gilels was one of the famous pianists of the 20th century, but nothing more. Aftern watching, I understand the reason why he is considered one of the greatest. Mr. Gilels' playing leaves me in awe and inspired. Every musical phrase sings from the soul and to the soul. Listen to the Fantasia in D Minor, or the two Beethoven Sonatas, the music speaks for itself. The introductory booklet suggests that Mr. Gilels mannerism at the piano may be "distracting", I did not find this to be true. His demeanour at the piano to me is a picture of total immersion and dedication to the music.
The camera work is mostly superb. Minor critiques - the DVD is too short, has no extras, and the picture/sound discrepancy during the Waldstein Sonata can be distracting. Nevertheless, Mr. Gilels' playing far outweighs any shortcomings on this disc.
Highest recommendations to fans of classical music, or pianists hoping to get a glimpse of a master at work. I also recommend Grigory Sokolov Live in Paris and BBC's Alfred Brendel in Portrait. Enjoy!"
S. Park | laguna beach, CA | 07/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Apparently it was said that Emil Gilels' piano sound had "golden" sound in it --- a certain unmistakable tone sometimes associated with performers such as Caruso or Gigli. I am a believer of that notion after I watched this DVD. Not only Gilels had his own clear and powerful sound but also he had the sense of the whole structure of the music. The whole effect is so majestic, words fail me in trying to explain my experience.
The DVD was superbly produced with great camera work and wonderful stereo sound. It is so wonderful that we can enjoy Gilels' live music making as if we were at his concert 25 years ago."
Robert Doeden | Knoxville, TN USA | 07/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with all the fine reviews here which cover the quality of the DVD and the performance. There is nothing I can add except for my experience in seeing Gilels when he first came to the US and performed in Chicago with Reiner.
When I heard he was coming I immediately ordered tickets and was fortunate to have perfect seats about 10 or 12 rows from the stage with a great view of his hands. Reiner was the absolute minimalist conductor, his baton barely moved. I can still see Gilels trying to speed up the orchestra by waving his hands like a conductor during a period when he was not playing. He became my favorite pianist and I've gone on to collect many of his recordings. For me this is the best of my collection."