P1270. EMIL GILELS, w.Serge Baudo Cond. Saarbrucken Radio S.O.: Piano Concerto #27 in B-flat, K.595 (Mozart), Live Performance, 27 April, 1984; EMIL GILELS, w.Amadeus Quartet & Rainer Zepperitz (Double Bass): 'Trout' Quintet in A (Schubert), Live Performance, 2 Sept., 1975, Helsinki. [For anyone who has ever contemplated absolute serenity in a heavenly space, these performances are the answer. The absolute silence in the Mozart Saarbrucken audience offers palpable evidence! This 'Desert Island' CD is not to be missed!] (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-564.
“Emil Gilels, one of the world's great pianists and, in 1955, the first Soviet musician to perform in the United States since Sergei Prokofiev in 1921, was a stocky man with a shock of sandy hair and short, stubby fingers, uncharacteristic for a pianist. But his greatness was widely recognized. Howard Taubman of THE NEW YORK TIMES proclaimed him a ‘great pianist’; on the occasion of his New York debut at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 4, 1955. After his first New York recital a week later, Harold C. Schonberg invoked the phrase ‘little giant’, the term the critic W. J. Henderson had used for the pianist and composer Eugen d'Albert at the turn of the century.
Mr. Gilels continued to receive such encomiums throughout his career, both in the Soviet Union, where he had taught at the Moscow Conversatory since 1938, and in the West. Altogether, he made 14 American tours, the last in 1983. On the occasion of his last New York recital, on April 16, 1983, Donal Henahan wrote in The Times of his ‘formidable, high-finish technique and beautiful control of nuance’.
Mr. Gilels led the procession of Soviet artists of his generation to the West; others who emerged shortly after his debut were David Oistrakh, the violinist; Sviatoslav Richter, the pianist, and Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist. Mr. Rostropovich later became an outspoken dissident, but the others remained honored Russian citizens. Together, this group suggested that the traditions of Romantic music-making had not died out in the relatively isolated Russian musical world. ‘The precepts of Leopold Auer still prevailed in violin pedagogy, and the pianists stemmed straight from Anton Rubinstein and the Leschetizky school’, Mr. Schonberg wrote in 1979, on the occasion of one of Mr. Gilels' periodic returns to the American concert scene.
But especially in his later years, Mr. Gilels was a more Classically inclined pianist than, say, Mr. Richter. In 1970 he even offered an all-Mozart recital at Philharmonic (now Avery Fisher) Hall, which Allen Hughes of THE TIMES called ‘superbly wrought’.
Basically, however, Mr. Gilels was a big, rich-toned pianist who could ride triumphantly over an orchestra in the mainstream Romantic piano concertos - those of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, all of which he recorded. He wasn't always note-perfect, but he commanded his repertory with an elan that made such flaws seem insignificant. And unlike some powerhouse virtuosos, he had a poetic gift that enlivened slow movements.”
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 16 Oct., 1985
“The Amadeus Quartet developed a reputation as one of the finest string quartets from the second half of the twentieth century. Its tradition and style were Viennese and its repertory was largely Austro-German. The Amadeus was one of the longest-lived quartets, performing for 40 years without a personnel change, and it was also among the most popular string quartets in England, Germany, the United States, and parts of Europe.
The Amadeus Quartet was formed in London in 1947 and first named the Brainin Quartet after first violinist (and ensemble leader) Norbert Brainin. Owing to their Jewish heritage, three of the group's members - Brainin, Siegmund Nissel (second violinist), and Peter Schidlof (violist) - fled Vienna after Hitler's 1938 annexation of Austria. The three players later met English cellist Martin Lovett to complete what would become one of the most celebrated quartets of the twentieth century."
- Robert Cummings, allmusic.com
“Serge Baudo studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won first prize for harmony, chamber music, percussion and conducting; here his conducting teacher was Louis Fourestier. Between 1949 and 1957 Baudo played the timpani with the Lamoureux, Paris Conservatoire and Paris Opera Orchestras, under conductors such as Charles Munch, Bruno Walter and Hans Knappertsbusch. He made his conducting debut in 1950, appearing frequently in this role in Paris. Between 1962 and 1965 he was the resident conductor at the Paris Opera. Baudo’s international career commenced in 1962 when, at Herbert von Karajan’s invitation, he followed Karajan as the conductor of Debussy’s PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE at La Scala, Milan.
In 1967 the music director of the newly formed Orchestre de Paris, Charles Munch, invited Baudo to become the first conductor of the orchestra, where he stayed until 1970. Between 1969 and 1971 he served as director of music at the Lyons Opera. In the latter year he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and returned there for the next three seasons. In addition to his permanent appointments Baudo has conducted widely as a guest, throughout Europe and Russia, the Far East and Canada. He was appointed chief conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra in 2001, and also serves as the permanent guest conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. One of the finest French conductors of his generation, he is a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur and a member of the Ordre National du Mérite and of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres"
- David Patmore, A–Z of Conductors