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“Schumann is a great explorer of the soul and the heart, and his works are like the distilled essence of our own emotions, presented with utter strength and conviction – covering a broad spectrum while always remaining poetic, full-blooded, and life-affirming.

For me it is in the small musical scenes that Schumann is at his best, his imagination unconstrained by the requirements of large-scale structures, and the shorter duration of each number allowing an abundant amount of musical material to be presented.

The three works on this CD are a kaleidoscopic swirl, richly varied, with scenes, moods and characters shifting quickly before our eyes, offering musical material of such purity that it attaches itself to the performer as a second skin, lowering the emotional barriers and making you feel that you have lived through all that Schumann had written in notes.”

Boris Giltburg

Naxos 8.573399
SCHUMANN, R.: Carnaval / Davidsbündlertänze / Papillons

The three works on this recording are collections of short pieces, strung together and forming a cohesive whole—a form which Schumann himself invented, developed and brought to perfection. Davidsbündlertänze (Dances of the League of David) was written after Schumann’s engagement to Clara Wieck, to whom he wrote, ‘If I have ever been happy at the piano, it was when I was composing these.’ Papillons (Butterflies) is the work of a youthful, unfettered imagination, and Carnaval is one of his most popular pieces, a display of both technique and emotion. Boris Giltburg, who took first prize at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition, is one of today’s most exciting young pianists, lauded for his ‘massive and engulfing technique, supporting interpretations that glow with warmth and poetic commitment’ (Gramophone).

Watch the recording session for Schumann’s
Carnaval with Boris Giltburg and producer Andrew Keener
Listen to an excerpt from Carnaval Op. 9:
No. 9 Papillons

Listen to Rick Phillips' podcast
In two minds

About the Artist

The young Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg has recently been attracting the attention of a growing world-wide audience. In 2013 he won first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, catapulting his career to a new level. In the following months he played at the Vienna Musikverein, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Southbank Centre, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Colmar Festival, and with the Seattle Symphony, London Philharmonic and St Petersburg Philharmonic orchestras. He made his BBC Proms debut in 2010, has toured regularly to South America and China, and has also toured Germany with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. In 2014 he began a long-term recording plan with Naxos Records; his first release is featured here.

Companion discs featuring the music of Robert Schumann

Idil Biret Solo Edition Vol. 4
Abegg Variations /
Piano Sonata No. 2 /
Fantasie, Op. 17 / Toccata

“Biret is fully involved in the music, highly expressive as well as totally in command of her instrument.”

Idil Biret Solo Edition Vol. 5
Kreisleriana / Blumenstück / Faschingsschwank

“There is sensitivity aplenty in
the fifth volume of the Idil Biret
Solo Edition
…Biret is a thoughtful pianist, never flashy, with plenty
of technique but a willingness to subsume it into the music in order
to interpret the works as
sensitively as possible.”

Idil Biret Solo Edition Vol. 6
Bunte Blätter / Fantasiestucke

“The Turkish pianist is a wonderful interpreter of Schumann, sensitive to the moods and nuances of every bar of every piece and using her technical prowess not to showcase virtuosity for its own sake but to draw out the meaning and emotional power of the music.”

Biret Chamber Music Edition, Vol. 1
Piano Quintet / Symphonic Etudes

“The performance [of the Quintet] here is a strong one: there is some sense that the quartet members defer to Biret, but never unduly so, with the balance among the players generally finely honed and nicely cooperative. The quintet is coupled with Biret’s highly impressive performance of the
Symphonic Etudes.”

Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3

“These are excellent performances ...committed, energetic, attentively detailed performances marked also by a clarity of texture and line that engages the ear at every step along the way.”

Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4

“I was both heartened and stimulated by
Wit's interpretative courage.”

Scenen aus Goethes Faust
(Scenes from Goethe's Faust)

“Antoni Wit has at his disposal an excellent chorus and a very fine orchestra. Best of all, [he] has an outstanding line-up of soloists … this version will be hard to beat.”

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Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group