Some artists can be consumed by their inner contradictions but with Emil Gilels they were all fruitful. Trained as the archetypal Russian Klaviertiger, by the early 1950s he had already developed into a great classical pianist. Stocky and pugnacious looking, he could play with immense power and percussiveness in Prokofiev or Shostakovich and rise effortlessly to the challenge of a Tchaikovsky concerto, but could also make the piano sing with a deceptive simplicity in Scarlatti, Mozart or Schubert. Heart, mind and humour, kept in perfect poise, made him the great Beethovenian of his time. Brahms brought out his warmth, Schumann and Chopin his sense of poetry.
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra