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Emil Gilels (1916-1985), Soviet Pianist from Odessa, Ukraine - Widely Considered One Of the Twentieth-Century Greats


DonRocks
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Two extremely knowledgeable friends of mine (a professional musician and a world-class amateur) cannot agree on this one performer - I say Gilels is world-class in every respect; they say he's "stiff." I say they're wrong; they say I'm wrong. I'm hoping that this title attracts knowledgeable pianists on Google that are familiar enough with Gilels to express an opinion.

I don't even see this as being a close call. Gilels plays 20th-century Russian music better than anyone, including Richter.

Love of Three Oranges (you have to watch on YouTube)

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Petruschka is brilliantly executed by Gilels, but it is not instructive to the argument.  These are very clever and fun showpieces, and display a side of Gilels' playing that is not being disputed.  There is so much more to Stravinsky, and it takes a complete artist such as Maria Yudina to hammer the point home, despite a slight pun being buried somewhere in this sentence.

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Don't care for this 129, even though I am quite a fan of Kissin.  Too fast (clearly serving the purpose of the occasion), with a marvelous rhythm and the sense of humor being lost.  This 111 is outstanding, one of the greatest I've ever heard; very similar to Richter's actually, but with more poise despite the blitzkrieg.  How is all this related to Gilels?

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