“I’m addicted to Shostakovich – to the raw, visceral power of his music, to the explosive drive, the spiky humour, to his intuitive ability to distill into music the most basic, even primitive human emotions – fear, anger, lust, hate, but also love and hope for happiness – and hurl them at the listener with such force that one’s being reverberates in shock.
The two concerti feature these qualities in concentrated abundance, with the addition of some deep, sincere sadness in the second movement of Concerto No. 2 – a rare instance of Shostakovich without a mask.
The Eighth String Quartet is one of Shostakovich’s most personal and powerful works, unapologetically, unrelentingly dark. As a pianist, it’s a real privilege to gain access to this music, and I’m tremendously grateful to the Shostakovich family for permitting me to make this arrangement.”
Shostakovich’s two Piano Concertos span a period of almost thirty years. The youthful First Piano Concerto is a masterful example of eclecticism, its inscrutable humour and seriousness allied to virtuoso writing enhanced by the rôle for solo trumpet. Written as a birthday present for his son Maxim, the Second Piano Concerto is light-spirited with a hauntingly beautiful slow movement. With the permission of the composer’s family, Boris Giltburg has arranged the exceptionally dark, deeply personal and powerful String Quartet No. 8, thereby establishing a major Shostakovich solo piano composition.
Listen to an extract from
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35:
I. Allegro moderato
Listen to an extract from String Quartet No. 8 in
C minor, Op. 110(arr. for solo piano by B. Giltburg):
II. Allegro molto
Listen to Raymond Bisha's podcast about this release
About the Artists
Boris Giltburg took first prize at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition, having won second prize at the Rubinstein in 2011 and top prize at Santander back in 2002; he has subsequently established a performance profile around the world. Notable debuts have included a South American tour in 2002 (and every season since), with the Israel Philharmonic in 2005, the Indianapolis Symphony in 2007, a tour of China in 2007, and at the BBC Proms in London in 2010. In 2014 he began a long-term recording plan with Naxos.
Rhys Owens began playing the cornet in the local brass band at the age of eight. Before joining the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) he played with many British orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, as well as working in Europe. He joined RLPO in August 1991 as Fourth Trumpet, and was promoted to Section Principal in 1998.
Vasily Petrenko was appointed principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006 and in 2009 became chief conductor. He is also chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, chief conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra (Evgeny Svetlanov) in Moscow. He was the Classical BRIT Awards Male Artist of the Year 2010 and 2012 and the Classic FM/Gramophone Young Artist of the Year 2007.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra in Britain, dating from 1840. Highlights from the orchestra’s Naxos discography (with Vasily Petrenko) include Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony (8.570568), which won the 2009 Gramophone Award for Orchestral Recording of the Year, and a Shostakovich symphony cycle (8.501111), from which the recording of Symphony No. 10 (8.572461) won the 2011 Gramophone Award for Orchestral Recording of the Year.
“[Boris Giltburg’s] originality stems from a convergence of heart and mind, served by immaculate technique and motivated by a deep and abiding love for one of the 20th century’s greatest composer-pianists.”