Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor; The Nutcracker (excerpts)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: RCA Victor Living
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor; The Nutcracker (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Emil Gilels (piano)Chicago SO/Fritz Reiner
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68530 2 ADD 1955/59
Of his six recordings of the Tchaikovsky B flat minor, Gilels’s first stereo version, taped in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at the end of his politically charged 1955 US debut tour, was the most sensational. Dazzling in stratospheric Russian pianism, it’s an untrammelled powerhouse performance of visceral theatre, leonine attack and flying fingers, Gilels plunging deep into the keyboard, Reiner (as in his filmic, larger-than-life Nutcracker) alchemising an iron-willed orchestral chemistry of blood-coursing passion. Forget the crude analogue edits and the page turns, here’s a chance to eavesdrop on 33 minutes of history. Ates Orga

Advertisement