What leaps out to the listener from these Ludwigsburg sessions is the spontaneity and the sheer joy of music-making. No one can cease to be amazed at the formidable technique and Gilels’ control of the music, both rhythmically and dynamically. His transcendent performances are underpinned by an intellectual understanding and architectural grasp. The listener is taken on a spiritual journey. One can forgive him the occasional finger slip…and they are in no way detrimental to the visceral excitement he communicates. All of the works featured here are similar in conception to the studio recordings. It is an uplifting experience. I was struck by the way he treats Op. 79, not as a small sonatina, but finds in it a nobility and grandeur present in the larger works.
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