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04 May 2018
"They threatened to escape the music memory, the recordings made by the Russian master pianist Emil Gilels in the Amsterdam concert hall: the Concertgebouw. His game is intelligent, enthusiastic and compelling, and this grandeur is thundering like a thunderbolt in clear skies."De Volkskrant, 20-12-2018
« In June 2017, I was due to perform in Moscow when I met Kirill Gilels, the grandson of the famous pianist Emil Gilels. He listened to what our Phoenix Mastering restoration process, based partly on Devialet technologies, can achieve, and made the decision to entrust us with the results of several years of research: he gave us a list of dates and places of the previously unreleased recordings of his grandfather.
In Berlin, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, we came across a treasure trove, stunning in terms of both the quality and consistency of Emil Gilels’s playing. We were fully aware that he was one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.
It was in Amsterdam where at last, thanks to the unstinting efforts of Piet Tullenaar, we succeeded in extracting five recordings of performances Gilels had given between 1975 and 1980 at the Concertgebouw – recordings that had fallen into oblivion.
We were allotted a studio where we listened to the tapes one by one. Sitting there were Piet Tullenaar, Michel Navarra and myself. We did not utter a word, so overcome were we by the beauty of what we heard. (F. D’Oria-Nicolas) »
=Here is, in a few words, the feverish atmosphere that surrounded the genesis of this totally new box set dedicated to Emil Gilels (1916 - 1985). Considered one of the most important pianists of the twentieth century, he was a pupil of H. Neuhaus. He wins the current Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels and takes on an international stature. In 1955, he was the first artist to be welcomed in the United States since the war : if the public, somewhat circumspect of Carnegie Hall, in New York, accompanies his entry on stage of a troubled silence, it is under a thunder of uninterrupted applause that he will refuse to leave the stage!
His record work is important (more than 55 ref are still available), so finding unreleased recordings is an event.
Gilels was particularly fond of Holland, and gave the best in these recitals at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. It is in his favorite repertoire - Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Prokofiev, Schumann, etc - that we find this legendary pianist, in this box of recordings from 1975 to 1980.
Emil Gilels was een van de grootste pianisten van de 20e eeuw. Een aantal van zijn uitvoeringen werd gevonden in 2017, van verrassend goede kwaliteit. Deze opnames zijn nu samengebracht op één album.
In juni 2017 ontmoette Frederic D'Oria-Nicolas de kleinzoon van Emil Gilels, Kirill Gilels. Na het horen van de mogelijkheden van een restauratieproces voor muziek, besloot Kirill een lijst van data en plaatsen van nog niet uitgebrachte opnames van concerten van zijn grootvader te delen. D’Oria-Nicolas zocht vervolgens in Berlijn, Moskou en Sint Petersburg en vond daar een schatkist aan opnames die kwaliteit van zowel uitvoering als opname uitblonken. In Amsterdam stuitte hij, met hulp van Piet Tullenaar, uiteindelijk op vijf opnames die volledig overgenomen en gerestaureerd konden worden. Dit waren vergeten opnames van concerten die tussen 1975 en 1980 in het Concertgebouw waren uitgevoerd.
Deze opnames zijn verzameld in deze nieuwe 5 CD-box. De Oekraïense pianist hield veel van Nederland, en zette dan ook zijn beste beentje voor tijdens deze uitvoeringen in het Concertgebouw. Hij voert zijn favoriete repertoire uit: Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Prokofiev, Schumann en nog vele anderen, op deze opnames.
Emil Gilels was born on October 19, 1916 in Odessa. His parents were not musicians, but their modest flat in the poor area of the well-known Moldavanka neighbourhood housed a piano. Times were difficult, yet particular attention was given to musically gifted children. At the early age of two, Emil tried out the keys of the instrument at home, listening carefully to the sounds it produced.
It soon became obvious that the boy had perfect pitch; it extended to notes that were not necessarily made by instruments. When he was five years old, he was taken to Yakov Tkach, a famous piano teacher in Odessa.
The young boy completed the first stage of his studies with exceptional facility. There was no need to position his hands, so naturally did they move over the keyboard. His extraordinary ear and memory enabled him to absorb all the rudiments of music and of its grammar with great speed, and after only a few months he was playing sonatinas by Clementi and Mozart. By the age of eleven, he had mastered etudes by Chopin and Liszt. He was also strongly drawn to the theatre, began composing a little and loved to imagine himself as a conductor.
If you would open any biography of Franz Liszt, you would probably mostly read about his disquiet life as a piano virtuoso, his passionate love life, and the return to his catholic roots at the end of his life. Although all of this might be true, it only scratches the surface of his comprehensive musical personality. Liszt was a pianist, conductor, teacher and organiser, but above all he was a composer of a voluminous, capricious body of work. Even though his piano works formed his core business, he gave rise to the symphonic poem, got rid of the organ's stuffy appearance, and reinvigorated the oratorio. Moreover, with his piano transciptions of Bach's organ works and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, he was an advocate of both old and new music.
Together with his son-in-law Richard Wagner, he was in the forefront of the Romantic movement and anticipated the musical revolutions of the early 20th century with his new composition techniques.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose actual name is Joannes Chrysotomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a composer, pianist, violinist and conductor from the classical period, born in Salzburg. Mozart was a child prodigy. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. Along with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, Mozart is considered to be one of the most influential composers of all of music's history. Within the classical tradition, he was able to develop new musical concepts which left an everlasting impression on all the composers that came after him. Together with Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven he is part of the First Viennese School. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position. From 1763 he traveled with his family through all of Europe for three years and from 1769 he traveled to Italy and France with his father Leopold after which he took residence in Paris. On July 3rd, 1778, his mother passed away and after a short stay in Munich with the Weber family, his father urged him to return to Salzburg, where he was once again hired by the Bishop. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his death.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.
Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Frédéric Chopin is one of the greatest composers of the Romantic piano tradition. He was a master in making the small form great. His ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, preludes, etudes and nocturnes all belong to the most popular standard works for piano ever written.
As a child prodigy, Chopin grew up in a middle class family, who lived among the literati of Warsaw. When in 1830 the November Uprising broke out in Poland, the twenty year old Chopin stayed in Vienna. He became an exile and never returned to his mother country. He eventually settled in Paris.
He avoided public concerts, but he did like performing in small settings, such as salons and at home for his friends. This way, Chopin built a reputation as an exceptional pianist, teacher and composer.
Chopin brought a unique synthesis between the Viennese bravado and the French/English lyric style. Even though his pieces often are technically very demanding, the focus was always on creating a lyric expression and poetic atmosphere. He invented the instrumental ballade, and brought salongenres to a higher level with his many innovations and refinements.
They threatened to escape the music memory, the recordings made by the Russian master pianist Emil Gilels in the Amsterdam concert hall: the Concertgebouw. His game is intelligent, enthusiastic and compelling, and this grandeur is thundering like a thunderbolt in clear skies.
De Volkskrant, 20-12-2018
Recently discovered recordings of five Amsterdam recitals by the phenomenal master pianist Emil Gilels - diverse repertoire 5 CDs long superior, intelligent and colorful.
NRC Handelsblad, 22-11-2018
Most stunned and enchanting to this day is Gilels' somnambulistic stylistic sense and dramatic power in Mozart.
Gilels at his best!
Fono Forum, 03-9-2018
...One can only be pleased that these live recordings are now available. Because with these interpretations you have not only grandiose Gilels playing in front of you, but reference recordings of several works, which many should listen to.
Piano News, 01-9-2018
Cum Laude... Unforgettable recordings from an exceptional pianist.
Listen to his Beethoven interpretations (one of his hearths): technically flawless, lively, a playtime that reveals great insight into the notes, and when a melodious melody passes by is refined, colorful, and extremely sensitive.
A condensate of his pianistic world view.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11-6-2018
Five CDs, you can enjoy the breathtaking playing of Emil Gilels.
An epochal set, because you won't meet the ripe one, later Gilels nowhere more lively, almost casually than here.
Gilels in optima forma, never making a mistake, playing compellingly, with noble perfection and great overview.
Stunning good recordings of Emil Gilels (1916-1985) in the Concertgebouw (*****)
De Volkskrant, 24-5-2018
While listening to these recordings that belong to the best I know of Gilels, I regret that I have never heard him in person.
Opus Klassiek, 30-4-2018
Fireworks in which his pearling game sounds like something from the past. Who else can do this?
Het Parool, 27-4-2018
The golden tone of this profundity resounds during live recordings of the five recitals that "the little giant" played in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw between 1975 and 1980.
These recordings tell the fascinating story of an incredibly honest interpreter who could move mountains if he exceeded his self-imposed boundaries.
De Nieuwe Muze, 04-4-2018