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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, May 2016

Giltburg’s best performance of the lot comes last on the program in Beethoven’s final essay in sonata form, the Sonata No. 32 in C Minor. The piece really seems to fire both the pianist’s imagination and his playing with a powerful mix of astounding technique, gripping drama, and interpretive insight. …This is great pianism and great Beethoven playing at its very best. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Alex Baran
The WholeNote, January 2016

Giltburg is patient. Never rushing unnecessarily, he takes his time, pausing and hesitating to highlight the intimacy of the music. Speed and power are, however, no obstacle to him and he shies away from nothing.

The Sonata No.32 Op.111 is Beethoven in completely new territory. Giltburg delights in the moments that appear unstructured and so modern for the period but he also plunges with feverish delight into the passages with fugal elements that Beethoven wrote for effective contrast. The jewel in this crown is unquestionably Giltburg’s performance of the final movement. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review

Guy Rickards
International Piano, January 2016

Giltburg rises well to the challenge. His Pathétique is well thought through and rather more convincingly achieved than Scherbakov’s. In tempo, he is closer to Goldstone (Divine Arts) than Lewis (Harmonia Mundi) and his shaping of the music is nicely done although he does not displace either rival.

…Giltburg is a virtuosic and thoughtful executant. Recommended. © 2016 International Piano

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, December 2015

…Giltburg plays with a crisp legato touch, quite fitting for Beethoven’s lean Classical writing. The middle movement is played with a more flowing legato style, and rightly so as the music here is more lyrical, even Romantic. The Rondo finale is energetic yet elegant in Giltburg’s hands, but he manages to catch the fiery and darker elements of the music too. Overall, this is an excellent Pathetique. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review, November 2015

…No. 32, Beethoven’s final sonata (1821–22), is simply astonishing, anticipating jazz in one section of its first movement, pushing the bounds of harmony, combining elements of drama and mysticism in a heady brew that seems different each time the work is performed. This sonata, whose form inspired several Chopin works and was used by Prokofiev as the basis of his Symphony No. 2, transcends both its time and the earlier sonatas for which it is the capstone. © 2015 Read complete review

Misha Donat
BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

[Boris Giltburg] is a musical and thoughtful player, and his account of Beethoven’s last sonata, Op.111, in particular is highly accomplished, the opening movement delivered with all the drama and intensity it calls for, and the valedictory variation fínale conveying an air of luminous warmth. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2015

Boris Giltburg’s well thought, yet always fresh and spontaneous playing is convincing by its intellectual freedom and the harmonious combination of energy and sensitivity. © 2015 Pizzicato

Jed Distler
Gramophone, October 2015

Giltburg’s highly articulated fingerwork…gives appropriate variety and character to the gnarly writing… Naxos provides superb, full-bodied and detailed sound. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2015

We can live in hope and anticipation that this will be the first installment of a complete cycle of the Beethoven sonatas from the Russian pianist, Boris Giltburg. Unhurried in creating an international career, he first came to recognition when winning the Santander competition in 2002 at the age of eighteen. Since then there have been successes in the Rubinstein competition, two years later adding the jewel in any pianist’s crown, when he took the first prize at the Queen Elisabeth competition. He has, throughout those years, given acclaimed concerts with leading orchestras and conductors, culminating in a projected long-term recording schedule with Naxos. From the opening bars of the Eighth sonata, the ‘Pathetique’, he avoids the usual heavy doom-laden approach, and the whole of the first movement sets out his unexaggerated approach that allows Beethoven to speak on his own behalf without performing interference. His dexterity and clarity of articulation comes into focus in the following Allegro di molto e con brio taken as quickly as that indication requires, yet without sounding hurried. I could continue to enumerate the total satisfaction he imparts, the lyrical moments pressing forwards and shaped with sparing use of rubato. Suitably agitated at the opening of the Twenty-first, the ‘Waldstein’, Giltburg faithfully observes the moderato in the tempo instruction for the Rondo finale. The Thirty-second, and Beethoven’s final work in the genre, is intransigent and thought-provoking in equal measure as it moves from sadness to thoughts of the pleasing moments in the composer’s life. Giltburg keeps the happiness in check, the finale evaporating rather than ending the work. If this is to be a Beethoven cycle, I fervently hope Naxos now take Giltburg into one of their many truly outstanding piano recording venues, for these are very special performances. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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