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RACHMANINOV, S.: Etudes-tableaux, Op. 39 / Moments Musicaux (Giltburg)


Naxos 8.573469

   primephonic, July 2017
   National Public Radio, December 2016
   Musical Toronto, December 2016
   National Public Radio, December 2016
   Fanfare, November 2016
   The New Zealand Herald, September 2016
   Fanfare, September 2016
   The WholeNote, August 2016
   BBC Music Magazine, August 2016
   Rondo Classic, August 2016
   International Piano, July 2016
   American Record Guide, July 2016
   National Public Radio, June 2016
   Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2016
   The Guardian, June 2016
   Gramophone, June 2016
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, June 2016
   Infodad.com, May 2016
   The Buffalo News, May 2016
   Klara, May 2016
   Financial Times, May 2016
   Pizzicato, May 2016
   David's Review Corner, May 2016

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Jessica Duchen
primephonic, July 2017

Boris Giltburg’s playing of these two inexplicably underrated Rachmaninov sets soon had me turning up the volume, closing out the world and surrendering to the music in a way I suspect is more usually associated with Wagner, Glastonbury or possibly Metallica.

This isn’t all about volume, though—anything but. It’s the multidimensional quality of Giltburg’s performances that clinches the matter. He has an almost uncanny ability to highlight different strands of the musical fabric while keeping everything in balance—and there is a great deal going on in this music, which is filled with immense drama and continually contrasting atmospheres. Giltburg has described them as “cinematic short stories”, and that comes across in his playing.

…magnificent synthesis of music, image, narrative and imagination. Giltburg boils up the essential core of Rachmaninov and creates something entirely fresh, personal yet faithful out of it. Sound quality on the download is splendid, with both warmth and bloom. © 2017 primephonic Read complete review



Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, December 2016

A Year Of Listening Desperately: 10 Classical Albums That Saved 2016

If Kolesnikov’s Chopin is catnip in triple time, then Boris Giltburg’s Rachmaninoff album, with all its muscular charm, is fantasy fiction in sound. The Russian composer’s Études-tableaux, Op. 39 unfold like cinematic shorts. In No. 6, inspired by “Little Red Riding Hood,” wolf fangs snap in clipped chords, while shutters flap on empty houses at the close of No. 3 and seagulls hover in the delicate undulations of No. 2. Giltburg navigates Rachmaninoff’s finger-stretching virtuosity with ease, adding a little of his own stamp on the miniature tone poems along with the composer’s Moments musicaux, Op. 16. © 2016 National Public Radio




Norman Lebrecht
Musical Toronto, December 2016

The Best And The Worst Classical Music Albums Of 2016 (Alternative Cuts)

…Boris Giltburg’s account of the Rachmaninov’s Etudes-tableaux has not strayed far from my player all year long. I hear something new every time I play it. © 2016 Musical Toronto



Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, December 2016

NPR Music’s Top 100 Songs of 2016: Rank #20

A piano may be just a box of hammers and wires, but when Boris Giltburg pulls up a stool to play Rachmaninoff, an orchestra’s worth of sound emerges. The music smolders low in the bass one moment, then bursts into flame as it runs up the keyboard. Giltburg’s artful control of rhythm and dynamics in this punishingly tricky piece brings out convulsive passions, moments of repose and howling winds. © 2016 National Public Radio



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, November 2016

Giltburg starts off on the right foot because he exhibits warmth in his emotional appeal, a rounded tone, a varied touch that doesn’t become clattery or clangorous, and a natural feeling for how to phrase in a fluid manner that doesn’t turn wayward. …Giltburg follows the unfolding storyline beautifully and accepts the challenge to immerse himself in the piece. …Giltburg has found a way to make some of Rachmaninoff’s most complex solo piano writing sound flowing and spontaneous. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review




William Dart
The New Zealand Herald, September 2016

In a recent issue of BBC Music Magazine, Giltburg expounds on the dramatic and scenic potential of the Etudes-tableaux, which he realises on disc with effortless virtuosity. If the composer saw the opening flourish of the sixth etude as Big Bad Wolf menacing Little Red Riding Hood, then Giltburg turns it into a two-and-a-half minute, edge-of-the-seat thriller.

The nine etudes are not all roars, growls and chases; the translucent nocturne of the second is delivered with a sense of improvisando that could make one imagine that the composer himself has taken over the keys.

A coruscating outburst of particularly vibrant colours in the third gives way to the volatile moods of the fourth.

The 1896 Moments musicaux date from Rachmaninov’s early years in Russia and the spirits of Chopin and Liszt loom over them.

…Giltburg stresses that they are “unashamedly beautiful.” And so they are when the pianist illuminates the “moonlight and flutter” of the second and releases the glorious sheen of the final piece, a brilliant testament to what ten fingers can achieve on 88 notes in just over five minutes. © 2016 The New Zealand Herald



Richard A Kaplan
Fanfare, September 2016

…the Russian-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg exhibits an impressive technique and a broad expressive range. He captures well the fantastical quality of Rachmaninoff’s visions… © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Alex Baran
The WholeNote, August 2016

Giltburg is a superb technician and an emotional player who indulges in no excesses and so, remains credible. He’s perfectly at home with the complexity of Rachmaninov’s short form works. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review




Jessica Duchen
BBC Music Magazine, August 2016

…Boris Giltburg has impressed…with the intelligence and colouristic magnificence of his playing. …Giltburg’s range of expression is suitably wide, his sense of involvement total even though he never loses his cool. …Giltburg balances the voices in these rich textures with deft perspective; each note in a chord graded for colour and volume, giving a blended, multi-dimensional impression. If Rachmaninov envisaged landscapes, Giltburg turns them into sound-sculptures. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine



Harri Kuusisaari
Rondo Classic, August 2016

I believe I have never before heard this work [Études-tableaux] performed in such a narratively and emotionally rich manner.

Giltburg has all the technical capabilities at hand in lighting up Rachmaninov’s piano texture, the result being a translucent weave where images and emotions are brought into life in a very delicate manner.

Giltburg’s ethereal piano texture with its glittering arpeggios are supporting the melodies like a river supports a wooden chip.

The pianist is combining the fullness of timbre and emotion into an aristocratic restraint of which Rachmaninov’s own playing was famous of.

A gorgeous disc filled with pleasure for several listening times—and with Naxos price. I wouldn’t miss this one. © 2016 Rondo Classic




International Piano, July 2016

Giltburg does not disappoint, delivering richly nuanced, well-prepared performances of these wonderful scores. The virtuosic demands required by Rachmaninov are taken in his stride, the focus being on projecting the music rather than just managing the notes. Though Giltburg’s interpretations do not scale the heights of Richter or Berman, they still make impressive listening… © 2016 International Piano




Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, July 2016

…such wonderful music! Nothing else makes the piano so powerful, so moving.

And this pianist [Giltburg], whom I’ve heard before and admired so much, plays these pieces better than I can ever remember having heard them. I have never heard a more glorious combination of power and sensitivity, and tone No. 5 is particularly outstanding.

I really like Thiollier and Ghindin in these pieces, and Ken-Ichiro is wonderful, too; but Giltburg is the most romantic of them all: perfumed, warm, sweet and gentle, full of feeling. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, June 2016

NPR Music’s 100 Favorite Songs Of 2016 (So Far)

If Rachmaninoff’s Études-tableaux are short stories in sound, then pianist Boris Giltburg is an astonishing storyteller. From the urgency of the opening jack-hammered theme to the smoldering conclusion, Giltburg presents a poetic and personal vision where the final notes, he says, flap in the wind, like the shutters on the homes of an empty village. © 2016 National Public Radio



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2016

[Boris Giltburg] gives us a tremendously exciting take on both works. He clearly was made for this music. And the music itself in all its profundity and Russo-dash becomes clear to us, with the deeper inner meanings coming forth out of the extraordinary virtuosity.

Giltburg triumphs and thanks to him so does Rachmaninov. For all those who have had their doubts about the brilliance of these works, seek no further. Boris lays it all out for us, gives us a Rachmaninov we ordinarily do not get to hear, not like this. Highly recommended. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




Fiona Maddocks
The Guardian, June 2016

Each of the nine jewel-like miniatures in the cycle—mostly under five minutes in length—possesses a beguiling ambiguity, from brooding to pitch black, interrupted by flashes of light. Giltburg, a natural Rachmaninov interpreter, plays with technical fluidity and honed musicality. © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review




Martin Cullingford
Gramophone, June 2016

[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. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, June 2016

Where has Boris Giltburg been all my career as a reviewer? The Moscow-born Israeli pianist and winner of the 2013 Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition has done something I would not have previously believed possible: he has opened my ears to the sonorous beauty and dramatic sweep of Sergei Rachmaninov’s most technically demanding sets of piano music in a way that my previous acquaintance with this music had not done. © 2016 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review




Infodad.com, May 2016

In all, Giltburg shows sensitivity to Rachmaninoff’s tone painting as well as enough technique to make the music sound unforced. …From the extended reflective melody of the first piece to the thick texture of the last, Giltburg shows that he has thought through the way in which form and communicative function interact in the Moments musicaux and has, as a result, helped the music express itself to listeners in a clear and direct way. © 2016 Infodad.com Read complete review




Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, May 2016

Great playing by Giltburg here. © 2016 The Buffalo News Read complete review




Bart Tijskens
Klara, May 2016

As said before, this is repertoire right up Boris Giltburg’s alley and he demonstrates it convincingly here with clear and expressive piano playing. Additionally, Giltburg impresses with making the music breathe, with broad gestures, with colours and dramatic contrasts, finally and foremost with his technique and brilliant virtuosity. The recording is excellent and the interesting liner notes are written by Boris Giltburg himself. © 2016 Klara




Richard Fairman
Financial Times, May 2016

Pianist Boris Giltburg has described Rachmaninov’s Étude stableaux as “cinematic short stories”. Awesome, heaven-storming, mournful, they would take some director to film them convincingly.

Born in Moscow, the Israeli Giltburg is just over 30 and has the combination of youthful technical brilliance and mature emotion that these prodigious pieces need.

His performances of the later Op. 39 set of nine are glittering in their impressive torrents of notes, but also darkly soulful and personal, without ever feeling exaggerated.

The expansive Moments musicaux, Op.16, fill a rewarding disc. © 2016 Financial Times




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2016

Giltburg’s Etudes-Tableaux are very visual and thus magnificently rich tone paintings. In the Moments Musicaux, with his wonderfully mature sensibility, the pianist gets to a more poetic expression, so that Rachmaninov comes with his very typical Russian melancholy. In both cycles yet, Giltburg allows the structure of the works to emerge with great clarity, without compromising the expressivity. © 2016 Pizzicato



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2016

I greatly admired Boris Giltburg’s Naxos recording of Beethoven piano sonatas, but longed to hear him in music from the Romantic era, this release truly outstanding. The composer hinted at the inspiration behind the nine Etudes-tableaux, but left the performer with the task of filling in the details of the pictoral or narrative ideas embodied therein. Giltburg, as I expected and hoped for, uses vivid colours and bold assertiveness in a powerful approach to the outgoing etudes, then adds an ideal level of warmth to the more introspective moments. Yet essentially the score is a home for the great keyboard virtuosos, and Giltburg is among today’s most gifted, his use of romantic rubato is used in unerring quantity to breathe life into the music. Tempos are generally on the brisk side—which I am sure the composer would have enjoyed—his fingers able to play the Sixth with the mercurial agility that is quite extraordinary. He then relaxes into the following Lento where he finds an underlying sadness that ends in a passionate outpouring. In total, this is my top recommended recording. The Moments musicaux are very different Giltburg moving to a much more limpid world that proves he is also a poet of the keyboard, before allowing himself an explosive Presto as the fourth section. Naxos have some fabulous piano recording venues on their roster, and I would hope Giltburg will now be moved to one. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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