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Every now and then, piano works are performed with such depth, sincerity and skill that they leave an indelible mark on those listening. There’s absolutely no doubt that the recitals Emil Gilels gave at the Concertgebouw fall into this category. We’re immensely honored to have brought them back to life in close collaboration with his grandson, Kirill Gilels. This collection is an enduring tribute to the mastery of a classical giant who left us in 1985.
Emil Gilels is among the most celebrated pianists of the 20th century. His phenomenal career really started to take flight in 1938, when he won the Eugène Ysaÿe competition in Brussels (now known as the Queen Elisabeth Competition). Shortly afterwards, the Concertgebouw welcomed him for the very first time. This would be the start of a longstanding relationship with some of the greatest conductors of the day, including Mravinsky, Maazel, Jochum, Bernstein, Böhm and Karajan.
Rich and pure, profound and fluid, Gilels' unmistakable sound serves a musicality that is both immaculate and self-evident. Every single detail is simple, profoundly sculpted and extremely eloquent. From Mozart to Prokofiev, Beethoven to Chopin and Bach to Brahms, he excels at his art.
Though Maestro Gilels was invited to perform on the world’s most prestigious stages for almost half a decade, he held a special fondness for the Netherlands. As Kirill Gilels remembers: “The unique bond he felt with Amsterdam was warmly reciprocated. Every time he played, the public welcomed him with open arms; each performance was a resounding success. He always made sure to present the best of the piano repertoire to the sophisticated audiences at the Concertgebouw.”
This collection offers rare insight into the talent of an incomparable artist through a rich and varied repertoire. Restored and remastered with remarkable skill, these recordings are a testament to the immense beauty of his tone and style, captured within the exceptional acoustics of the Concertgebouw.
Released here for the very first time, these five recitals are brought together over a 7-disc vinyl set. A limited numbered edition of only 999 copies available for pre-order from today.