Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition Ravel Daphnis et Chloe suite no 2/ Cluytens/ Gilels|
Actors: Andre Cluytens, Orch Nat de la RTF, Emil Gilels
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Norman Duffy | Amsterdam | 05/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the great advantages of the DVD is the reappearance of long buried footage of past performers. Sounds obvious? Of course it is. However, this is a terrific and unexpected opportunity to see and hear a great artist such as Gilels in a work that he was closely associated with. He recorded the concerto in a purely audio sense at least four times.The nice thing about this performance is that it was recorded in concert for French TV and the artists could never have imagined that at a point almost fifty years later, it would end up on DVD. 1958 was after all not that long after the introduction of the stereo LP. One can feel that this was a concert first and foremost and that this really was how Gilels played it at this point of his career.Major allowances have to be made for the technical quality of the recording. The picture and the sound quality are very far from what we are used to. The performances of the purely orchestral items, Ravel and Mussorgsky, are fairly run of the mill as one would expect from a season concert series offering. Nothing wrong with them but nothing very special either. It is very interesting to Cluytens and to wonder at his sympathetic and obviously very kind demeanour with the orchestra.The obvious star attraction is Gilels in the Tchaikovsky. He was still a relatively new phenomenon in the west and this performance is simply overwhelming in its brilliance and overall grasp. The playing is mind-boggling both from a virtuoso point of view but also from the physical sound production and control that we can see very clearly. The conception is superb and among the most satisfying that I have ever come across. Wonderful playing that explodes through the limitations of the late '50's TV recording.In many of these EMI historic performance DVDs, the bonus item is more interesting than the main fare. Here we are treated to a phenomenal performance of Prokofiev's 3rd sonata. Richter was very forthright in his admiration of Gilel's peformance of this single movement early work. We can readily agree.Sound here is much better although the base is a bit tubby. The camara work is simple in the extreme - thank God - and we have a superb view of a supreme keyboard master in full flight. For pianists, this is wonderful. The sheer control and command of keyboard colour is magnificent and one wishes that the piece went on for ever. What strikes me is how totally Gilels has worked out everything. The musical lines are marvellous and there is endless variety of colour and wit as well as a dangerous and threatening sense of violence throughout.Interesting how, in 1959, the BBC felt the necessity to tape over what I imagine to be a Steinway & Sons plate over the keyboard. Can it be that the public broadcast mandate considered this to be advertising? How things have changed.Anyway, this is a revelation. Don't hesitate if you are an admirer of Gilels, one of the great master pianists of the 20th century. There isn't a lot of footage of him about, so go for it."
A Glimpse of Gilels in his Prime
BLee | HK | 10/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
The sound Gilel coaxed from the piano created quite a sensation, perhaps even more so than Nelson Freire. For those who don't find his last studio recording of the Beetheven Sonatas delightful enough, this concerto should be able to win back their heart. Even though Gilels sweated as heavily as one could ever see on the screen, his was nevertheless in his very prime-- much better than his later Moscow Conservatory recitals in three volumes. The command of the rhythm and the nuances of these pieces are absent from either Kissin's or even Weisenberg's rendition on DVD. His Prokofiev, of which even Richter found to be "splendid", is way better than his nearly completed cycle of Beethoven sonatas.
However, the recorded sound leaves much to be desired. And the B/W photography is only of average quality. Moreover, it's mostly taken from a four o'clock position just a little above the level of his hands -- often we aren't able to see the whole of his left hand. Often, we won't be able to the face of the conductor and the players clear enough.
The French orchestra is however of high quality and the conductor was the successor of Charles Munch. He is one of the very few conductor who could physically express with or without the baton all the emotions and musical languages of the entire repertoire beautifully. For those who enjoy Picture at an Exhibition, or Ravel etc, they've got themselves a bonus.