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Gilels, Kogan, Rostropovich – Piano Trios (5 CD box set, APE)

Gilels, Kogan, Rostropovich - Piano Trios (5 CD box set, APE)

Gilels, Kogan, Rostropovich - Piano Trios (5 CD box set, APE)

Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich, Sergei Shirinsky, Yakov Shapiro, Emil Gilels, Rudolf Barshai, Dmitry Tziganov
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Alexander Borodin, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Faure, Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Peter Tchaikovsky, Dmitry Shostakovich, Charles Camille Saint-Saëns, Robert Schumann
Audio CD
SPARS Code: A-D
Number of Discs: 5 CD box set
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Doremi Records
Size: 1.29 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Beethoven: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B major, op.97 “Archduke”
# Beethoven: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E major, WoO38
# Mozart: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B major, K.254
# Mozart: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G major, K.564
# Haydn: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D major, Hob.XV:16
# Haydn: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G major, Hob.XV:19
# Tchaikovsky: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in A minor, op.50
# Shostakovich: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E minor, op.67
# Saint-Saens: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F major, op.18
# Schumann: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D minor, op.63
# Borodin: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D major
# Faure: Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello no.1, op.15
# Brahms: Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn in D minor, op.40

Disc 1:
01. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: I. Allegro
02. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: II. Andantino più tosto Allegretto
03. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: III. Vivace assai
04. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”: I. Allegro moderato
05. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”: II. Scherzo, Allegro
06. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”: III. Andante cantabile, ma poco con moto
07. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”: IV. Allegro moderato

Disc 2:
01. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G Major: I. Andante, Presto
02. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G Major: II. Adagio ma non troppo
03. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G Major: III. Presto
04. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G Major: I. Allegro
05. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G Major: II. Andante
06. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G Major: III. Allegretto
07. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major: I. Allegro assai
08. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major: II. Adagio
09. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major: III. Rondo, Tempo di Menuetto
10. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E-Flat Major: I. Allegro moderato
11. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E-Flat Major: II. Scherzo, Allegro ma non troppo
12. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E-Flat Major: III. Rondo, Allegretto

Disc 3:
01. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 50: I. Pezzo elegiaco
02. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in A Minor, Op. 50: II. Tema con variazioni
03. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro vivace
04. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F Major, Op. 18: II. Andante
05. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F Major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo, Allegro
06. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F Major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro

Disc 4:
01. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: I. Allegro
02. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: II. Andantino più tosto Allegretto
03. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: III. Vivace assai
04. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Minor, Op. 63: I. Mit Energie und Leidenschaft
05. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Minor, Op. 63: II. Lebhaft, dochnichtzu rasch
06. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Minor, Op. 63: III. Langsam, mit inniger Empfindung
07. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Minor, Op. 63: IV. Mit Feuer
08. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E Minor, Op. 67: I. Andante
09. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E Minor, Op. 67: II. Allegro non troppo
10. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E Minor, Op. 67: III. Largo
11. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E Minor, Op. 67: IV. Allegretto

Disc 5:
01. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: I. Allegro con brio
02. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: II. Andante
03. Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D Major: III. Intermezzo
04. Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello No. 1, Op. 15: I. Allegro molto moderato
05. Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello No. 1, Op. 15: II. Scherzo
06. Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello No. 1, Op. 15: III. Adagio
07. Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello No. 1, Op. 15: IV. Allegro molto
08. Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn in D Minor, Op. 40: I. Andante, Poco piu animato
09. Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn in D Minor, Op. 40: II. Scherzo
10. Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn in D Minor, Op. 40: III. Adagio mesto
11. Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn in D Minor, Op. 40: IV. Allegro con brio

and you thought WE won the cold war…

okay, so maybe we DID; the Berlin wall came down, English became the language of international mindless TV, and we got access to CD sets like these for moderate cost.

But the soviet system gave rise to more than their fair share of transcendent artists, some of which they let out from time to time (Gilels and Kogan), and some which we got to keep permanently (like Rostropovich.)

There are many artists in the west (and, yes, in Russia) who have taken on these trios over time, many more recently and in arguably better sound. But these performances are just…humbling. They are exquisite. There is not a “moderately good” let alone a “weak” performance on any of these 5 CDs. The ensemble is, for the most part, flawless. So well do they integrate and play together that if you did a blind “taste test”, I think you’d be shocked to learn that these instrumentalists represented the pinnacle of solo classical Soviet artistry in the late 40s, 50s and 60s.

I envy the previous reviewer who claims he found this set for $11. I wasn’t so lucky, but in the end, it didn’t matter. This set was worth the price. I’ve written a number of other Amazon reviews where I’ve encouraged buyers to shop around and find a better price. I wouldn’t discourage you from doing so here, but if you can’t, I’d suggest you be philosophical, and (if you’re inclined to value sheer artistry) plunk down the price listed and enjoy.

Santa Fe Listener is right about the sound; its represenative of its age and the recording standards in the Soviet Union at the time. Some of the recordings are better than others; some retain the prototypical Soviet “boxiness” that’s as recognizable as the suits the KGB agents used to wear at the same time. But…a very few bars into these recordings, that ceases to matter.

In a similar vein, I have also recently purchased and fallen in love with another set from the same era, featuring the Oistrakh Trio (see below). Although there is some musical overlap with the Gilels/Rostropovich/Kogan set above, this other box has provided no end of pleasure. I’d heartily recommend both.

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