The word ‘symphony’ is used to describe an extended orchestral composition in Western classical music. By the eighteenth century the Italianate opera sinfonia - musical interludes between operas or concertos - had assumed the structure of three contrasting movements, and it is this form that is often considered as the direct forerunner of the orchestral symphony. With the rise of established professional orchestras, the symphony assumed a more prominent place in concert life between 1790 and 1820 until it eventually came to be regarded by many as the yardstick by which one would measure a composer’s achievement.
This authorized BBC tape has never been issued before. The recital is slightly unusual in that Gilels opens with Schumann's rarely heard Four Klavierstuckeop.32. Gilels only performed these pieces late in his career from 1977 to 1984. This is an exceptionally rare CD and presents the Russian pianist at his best in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. There is a beautifully played encore - Mozart's D minor Fantasy K397 - which is also featured on this well-filled 80+minute disc.