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Emil Gilels

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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | July 27, 1997
When Emil Gilels played the piano, you didn't listen to the music with just your ears: You absorbed it through every part of your body -- your feet, your arms, even your chest.His sound was gorgeous and filled with delicate nuances. But for listeners who heard him early in his career, what impressed most about the Gilels sound was its power. In the giant pieces of the piano repertory, he made you feel that the walls trembled with the stupendous bursts of sound that no other pianist seemed able to produce so easily.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | August 2, 1997
Sviatoslav Richter, whose fearless imagination took him to galaxies where no pianist had ventured before, died yesterday of a heart attack in Moscow at the age of 82.Richter, who was considered one of the 20th century's greatest pianists, had long ago become a cult figure to millions of admirers. With the deaths in the last 15 years of such great keyboard figures as Arthur Rubinstein, Emil Gilels, Vladimir Horowitz and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Richter was the last of this century's pianists to have had the almost godlike status of such earlier figures as Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | November 5, 1990
Last night in Shriver Hall the Cantilena Piano Quartet played a sleepy program in a sleepy manner. The piano quartets of Aaron Copland and Gabriel Faure (No. 1 in C Minor) are fairly strong pieces, but combining them with the Vincent D'Indy piano quartet made for an evening that sometimes felt like swimming upstream in syrup. It was a snoozerama.The playing didn't help matters. The ensemble of the Cantilena players (pianist Frank Glazer, violinist Edna Michell, violist Philipp Naegele and cellist Steven Thomas)
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | July 27, 1997
When Emil Gilels played the piano, you didn't listen to the music with just your ears: You absorbed it through every part of your body -- your feet, your arms, even your chest.His sound was gorgeous and filled with delicate nuances. But for listeners who heard him early in his career, what impressed most about the Gilels sound was its power. In the giant pieces of the piano repertory, he made you feel that the walls trembled with the stupendous bursts of sound that no other pianist seemed able to produce so easily.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | August 2, 1997
Sviatoslav Richter, whose fearless imagination took him to galaxies where no pianist had ventured before, died yesterday of a heart attack in Moscow at the age of 82.Richter, who was considered one of the 20th century's greatest pianists, had long ago become a cult figure to millions of admirers. With the deaths in the last 15 years of such great keyboard figures as Arthur Rubinstein, Emil Gilels, Vladimir Horowitz and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Richter was the last of this century's pianists to have had the almost godlike status of such earlier figures as Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 4, 1995
You can't tell young Russian pianists nowadays without a score card.It was only a few weeks ago that Evgeny Kissin performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto on a TV broadcast from Carnegie Hall; last Monday, Eldar Nebolsin played Chopin and Prokofiev at the Kennedy Center; and tomorrow afternoon, Boris Berezovsky will perform the ubiquitous Tchaikovsky with the Bolshoi Symphony at the Kennedy Center.Berezovsky's recordings of Schumann, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Liszt have so impressed Great Britain's prestigious Gramophone magazine that it calls the 25-year-old pianist, the first-prize winner of Moscow's 1990 Tchaikovsky Competition, "the truest successor to the great Russian pianists."
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November 25, 1992
IN THE preface to "Horowitz: His Life and Music," a masterful new biography of pianist Vladimir Horowitz by former New York Times critic Harold C. Schonberg, the author briefly discusses some gossipy exchanges he and the maestro shared regarding other pianists. Apparently Horowitz wasn't much impressed by his competition:"He did not think too highly of the culture and general musicianship of the pianists he heard," recalled Mr. Schonberg. Horowitz' judgment of his fellow artists could be devastating.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | June 3, 1991
Brussels' Queen Elisabeth Competition, one of the world's most prestigious musical contests and one of the most accurate predictors of future success, awarded second- and third-prize medals yesterday to Peabody Conservatory piano student Stephen Prutsman and to former Peabody student Bryan Ganz. They were the only two Americans in a field of 81 players to reach the finals in the monthlong contest that Belgians regard with the enthusiasm that Americans reserve for the World Series or the Super Bowl.
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By STEPHEN WIGLER and STEPHEN WIGLER,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 18, 1995
Genuinely great performances are rare -- as rare, in fact, on the PBS series of that name as anywhere else.Tonight's first telecast in the 23rd season of "Great Performances," however, captures a very great performance indeed. The concert, which was taped at the Oct. 5 gala opening of the Carnegie Hall season, features the Boston Symphony Orchestra; its music director, Seiji Ozawa; and the young Russian pianist Evegeny Kissin in a program of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and his Symphony No. 6 ("Pathetique")
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 21, 1997
Piano recitals as fine as Radu Lupu's program of works by Brahms and Beethoven in Bethesda on Sunday afternoon are rare.The pianist's interpretation of Brahms' darkly colored Seven Fantasies, opus 116, was as unusual as it was beautiful. Not even Emil Gilels, the most ruminative of Brahms players, ever performed this cycle as slowly as Lupu did on this occasion. And the 25-minute duration of his performance -- most pianists take about 20 -- was all the more remarkable because the pianist played all seven of the pieces without a pause.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 4, 1995
You can't tell young Russian pianists nowadays without a score card.It was only a few weeks ago that Evgeny Kissin performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto on a TV broadcast from Carnegie Hall; last Monday, Eldar Nebolsin played Chopin and Prokofiev at the Kennedy Center; and tomorrow afternoon, Boris Berezovsky will perform the ubiquitous Tchaikovsky with the Bolshoi Symphony at the Kennedy Center.Berezovsky's recordings of Schumann, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Liszt have so impressed Great Britain's prestigious Gramophone magazine that it calls the 25-year-old pianist, the first-prize winner of Moscow's 1990 Tchaikovsky Competition, "the truest successor to the great Russian pianists."
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | November 5, 1990
Last night in Shriver Hall the Cantilena Piano Quartet played a sleepy program in a sleepy manner. The piano quartets of Aaron Copland and Gabriel Faure (No. 1 in C Minor) are fairly strong pieces, but combining them with the Vincent D'Indy piano quartet made for an evening that sometimes felt like swimming upstream in syrup. It was a snoozerama.The playing didn't help matters. The ensemble of the Cantilena players (pianist Frank Glazer, violinist Edna Michell, violist Philipp Naegele and cellist Steven Thomas)
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By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | September 10, 1998
If you're looking for recordings of the works on this weekend's Annapolis Symphony Orchestra programs, I can recommend these as the top of the firsts.Most of the finest recordings of Brahms' First Symphony come on reissued budget compact discs that spotlight the conducting talents of previous generations.Bruno Walter made sumptuous work of the First Symphony. His version on Sony has warmth and plenty of crackle when the occasion calls for it.From Eugen Jochum on EMI's two-for-one "Double Forte" series, you get excellent readings of Symphonies 1, 2 and 3 for $17. A steal.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | July 14, 1992
COLLEGE PARK -- When Grigori Sokolov became the youngest ever first-prize winner of Moscow's Tchaikovsky Competition in 1966, the late great Emil Gilels, the chairman of the jury, said of the 16-year-old, "His playing breathes freshness and light."I don't think Gilels would have said that last night of the way Sokolov, now 42, played Brahms' F Minor Sonata in Tawes Theater at the University of Maryland.This recital -- the second of the university's International Piano Festival -- showed that Sokolov, while still a great talent, has fallen a victim to the virus that now afflicts so many of our younger musicians: It produces a delusion that equates slowness with profundity.
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