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  • Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5; Dvorak: Symphony No. 8
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5; Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 Import

6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, November 26, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

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This is a very weird coupling, unified only by the fact that EMI wanted to do something with a few of their "leftover" George Szell recordings. This somewhat cavalier treatment does not, however, detract from their artistic merit, for both the Beethoven and the Dvorák performances are pretty magnificent. And since the price is "two for one," just grab this set and consider the extra disc a worthwhile bonus. --David Hurwitz

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  • Sample this album Title - Artist (Sample)
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8:56
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Performer: Emil Gilels
  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: George Szell
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonin Dvorak
  • Audio CD (November 26, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Angel Records / EMI
  • ASIN: B000002SES
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,989 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Buxton on August 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is another strange example of how classical music distribution at least in the U.S. just makes no sense. Currently EMI has chosen to distribute the Gilels/Szell/Cleveland Orchestra set of Beethoven Piano Concertos nos. 1-4 in the U.S., but NOT Concerto no. 5 "Emperor" which is contained here. This makes no logical sense. This last concerto along with Dvorak's Eighth is NOT out of print, but is simply not distributed in the U.S. I know it is available in Europe because I just purchased it in London. It is a shame EMI has chosen to break up the set of concertos because this "Emperor" is one of the best around today with crisp, detailed, characterful playing from Gilels and unusually sharp and energetic playing from the Cleveland Orchestra under Szell. Together with concertos 1-4 this set in my opinion rivals the Kovacevich/Davis set on Philips for its consistently good sound and glorious pianism. The Dvorak Eighth, although an unusual coupling, is very enjoyable. Szell recorded this symphony earlier for CBS Masterworks, and if you own that one there is no need to go for this one as they are almost identical readings. The only advantage here is the superior sound quality. Szell of course had a special affinity with Dvorak, and the central section of the third movement shows the Cleveland strings in all their glory and the folk song nature of this symphony comes through well. All in all these performances are recommended highly, but I have deducted one star for EMI's poor planning.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E Gossard on July 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I could save myself a lot of writing and opining and just strongly second everything Cantabile has written. I would add however that for someone who really likes the romantic side of Beethoven, Gilels may not be for you. His playing may seem cool and not very emotionally involved in the music. In this as with most piano literature, Gilels takes a more detached point of view and concentrates on clarity and balanced proportion of melody, harmony and rhythm, less on excitement or emotion, though not really lacking in either respect. His technique is prodigious. This can be thrilling, and here it certainly is, accompanied by a like-minded and similarly exacting conductor in Szell.
A word about the sound. Severance Hall, where Szell and Cleveland performed and recorded, is on the dry side acoustically (which in itself can be a good thing or not). Columbia/CBS, the label that made by far the greatest number of albums with Cleveland during the Szell years, tended to record more up close and goose up the dynamic and that accentuated the dryness, sometimes to the point of harshness. (Fortunately the CD reissues on Sony Classics have gone back to the original master tapes and restored a more natural balance to the sound.) EMI recorded this album, and they aimed for and got a more pleasing, balanced and I think warmer sound without sacrificing clarity. Bottom line, though more than thirty years old, this Gilels/Szell recording is among the best sonically because it doesn't get in the way of the performers, rather captures them at their best and most flattering.
I hope this adds something to what Cantabile wrote that may be helpful to anyone considering trying this CD.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Put this performances of Beethoven masterpiece against any others and you'll know why this is perfectly performed by all. Szell's calm and not rushed, but electrifying conducting of this orchestra is simply mesmerizing. But it is the piano playing of Gieles that is hailed as perhaps greatest performance of this fifth concerto, ever. As much as I love this important recording, the remastering of this original could seriously have been much better. I will say that I'm very thankful that this recording is available in a CD form after having only a record album for decades, but for publishing this disc without doing a better job in remastering, EMI should be ashamed and embarrased! .
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