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GILELS-ZAK PIANO DUO



The Gilels-Zak piano duo was a partnership made in heaven. Yakov Zak and Emil Gilels were two of my very favorite pianists growing up in an era during which the great Soviet pianists were legends in this country and their recordings rarities. They were pianists very different from each other, yet together their individuality was dedicated to achieving a singularity of purpose so necessary for the successful performance of music for two pianos.

Both members of the Gilels-Zak piano duo were born in Odessa a scant two years apart. Both studied at the Odessa Conservatory and subsequently with Heinrich Neuhaus at the Moscow Conservatory. And each represented a pinnacle of the great Russian tradition of pianism.

Individually, their playing was magnificent. Together, as you will hear in the recordings below, they gave lessons in the beauty of true ensemble playing. 



Bach  Concerto for two Harpsichords in C major, BWV 1061
Kyril Kondrashin conducting the USSR State Symphony Orchestra


i Allegro



ii Adagio ovvero largo



iii Fuga




Mozart  Fugue for two Pianos in C minor, K 426

recorded in 1950




Mozart  Concerto for two Pianos in E major, K 365
Kyril Kondrashin conducting the USSR State Symphony Orchestra

recorded in 1949


i Allegro 



ii Andante



iii Rondo: Allegro




Mozart-Busoni  "Duettino Concertante" for two pianos
[after the Finale of Piano Concerto 19 in F major, K 459]

recorded in 1950




Mozart-Busoni  Fantasie F minor for two pianos
[after Mozart's Fantasie fu eine Orgelwalze, K 608]

recorded in 1950




Saint-Saëns  Variations for two pianos on a theme of Beethoven

recorded in 1950


(beginning)



(conclusion)




Saint-Saens  Carnaval of the Animals
Karl Eliasberg conducting the USSR State Symphony Orchestra
with Danil Shafran, cello

Introduction et marche royale du lion (Introduction and Royal March of the Lion)
IPoules et coqs (Hens and Roosters)
III Hémiones (animaux véloces) (Wild Asses: Swift Animals)
IV Tortues (Tortoises)
L'éléphant (The Elephant)
VI Kangourous (Kangaroos)
VII Aquarium
VIII Personnages à longues oreilles (Personages with Long Ears)
IX Le coucou au fond des bois (The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods)
Volière (Aviary)
XI Pianistes (Pianists)
XII Fossiles (Fossils)
XIII Le cygne (The Swan)
XIV Final (Finale)

recorded in 1976




Rachmaninoff  Suite 2 for two pianos, Op 17 (1901)

recorded in 1946


i Introduction: Alla marcia



ii Valse: Presto



iii Romance: Andantino



iv Tarantella: Presto










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



Follow these links to our main subject categories


Or go to the Yakov Zak page



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