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RACHMANINOV, S.: Piano Concerto No. 2 / Études-tableaux, Op. 33 (Giltburg, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Prieto)


Naxos 8.573629

   BBC Music Magazine, August 2019
   Politiken, December 2018
   Fanfare, March 2018
   Fanfare, January 2018
   Fanfare, January 2018
   American Record Guide, January 2018
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, December 2017
   Gramophone, December 2017
   MusicWeb International, November 2017
   Scene Magazine, November 2017
   AllMusic.com, October 2017
   iClassical, October 2017
   Gramophone, October 2017
   The WholeNote, September 2017
   Pizzicato, September 2017
   Infodad.com, September 2017
   David's Review Corner, September 2017

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Jessica Duchen
BBC Music Magazine, August 2019

Giltburg brings atmosphere and drama to the Etudes-tableaux, always serving Rachmaninov’s storytelling. The range of his playing—from colour to pacing to emotional shading and sheer heady propulsion—makes for compulsive listening. © 2019 BBC Music Magazine Read complete review



Thomas Michelsen
Politiken, December 2018

Best Classical Albums of 2018

Star talent Boris Giltburg gets Rachmaninov’s beloved concerto to breathe with clarity and heft; great climaxes from piano and orchestra in the big moments. He and the Scottish Orchestra are beautifully cultivated—a gorgeous experience.) © 2018 Politiken



Richard A. Kaplan
Fanfare, March 2018

Although the piano is a little more prominent than I consider optimal compared to the orchestra, Giltburg and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto do a nice job of rendering audible some details that are often buried under piano figurations: for example, the pizzicato violins at Figure 18 in the second movement, and the woodwind triplets at Figure 27. Giltburg also brings out nicely the moving voice in the middle register at the Più animato after Figure 22. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Steven Kruger
Fanfare, January 2018

Whatever you expected a pianist normally to do at a given moment, Boris Giltburg does something else. His tone is fascinatingly variable, weighted towards the bottom of the keyboard, which is essential in Rachmaninoff. He’s capable of real loveliness, especially in the slow movement.

All caveats disappear with the Études-tableaux. They’re gorgeous, purposeful and deeply Romantic.

Boris Giltburg is as forensic as ever, but fortunately everything he unearths is beautiful. Rachmaninoff in a meditative mood suits him, and I couldn’t ask for much more from the quieter, more dreamlike études. Giltburg has a seductive legato and uses pedal to illuminate what’s always interesting in Rachmaninoff, things that burble up from below. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, January 2018

My overall feelings about the soloist and orchestra are very positive, and the recorded sound from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s hall in Glasgow is just as bright and forward as the performance.

Without doubt Giltburg’s playing is kaleidoscopic, colorful, and full of élan. These qualities count for a lot, as does Naxos’s outstanding piano sound, the best I’ve heard from any source in a while. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review




Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, January 2018

The pianist is Israeli, though he was born in Russia. He plays like a Russian but with more variety and subtlety than most. He lacks nothing for Rachmaninoff.

…this is a very romantic performance and has to join the best ones on my shelf. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, December 2017

It’s always a treat to experience a new album by Boris Giltburg. The Moscow-born Israeli pianist who impressed me so much in his performace of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Moments Musicaux and Etudes-tableaux, Op. 39 has done it again. This time, he shines forth in the same sort of brilliance and darkling beauty in the composer’s Second Piano Concerto and his Études-tableaux, Op. 33.

Passion plus insight characterize Giltburg’s account of Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, so much so that his performance of this overly-familiar work stands out even in exceptionally fierce competition. © 2017 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review




Geoffrey Norris
Gramophone, December 2017

The fusion of freshness with generous spirit and soul lends an enthralling dynamism to this familiar repertoire. Boris Giltburg faithfully observes Rachmaninov’s marks of expression in the concerto and the Op 33 études, but there is a fluid imagination at work here tied to an enquiring musical intelligence. © 2017 Gramophone



Roy Westbrook
MusicWeb International, November 2017

Rachmaninov’s music for piano, with and without orchestra, is being superbly well served on disc nowadays, and this Naxos CD is yet another notable example. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, November 2017

As piano concertos go, Rachmaninov’s second is certainly one of the most familiar and beloved in all of classical music. This recent recording from Naxos offers a fresh interpretation of the masterpiece, as rendered by acclaimed pianist Boris Giltburg accompanied by the Royal Scottish National orchestra under the baton of conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. Through various turns, the evocative melodicism of the opening movement comes on gently, persistently, but with restraint, as Giltburg establishes the lyrical tone of the piece; one that is fantastical, melancholic, but ultimately uplifting. He is a thoughtful musician, attentive; qualities which are truly allowed to shine on the rendering of Op. 33, a series of etudes that follow the second concerto on the CD. At times enigmatic and unsettling (No. 5 in D minor), at other times robust and lively (No 1 in F minor), this charming collection demonstrates in no uncertain terms the high quality of Giltburg’s performance and the lasting impression of great musical compositions. © 2017 Scene Magazine




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, October 2017

This is a very fine performance of the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, an iconic work ever since it musically defined the 1945 British tearjerker Brief Encounter. Giltburg has the chops to handle the concerto’s technical challenges, as great as those in any other work Rachmaninov wrote, and also to get beyond conservatory dryness and put across the emotion of the work, the sense Rachmaninov had of rediscovering a musical wellspring after a long, creatively fallow period. © 2017 AllMusic.com Read complete review



iClassical, October 2017

The young Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg is rapidly establishing a reputation as a fine interpreter of Rachmaninov’s music. Katherine Cooper recently noted that he approaches Rachmaninov’s music in ‘an entirely idiomatic yet intensely personal’ way that provides fresh perspectives on some of these over-recorded works.

For the concerto, Giltburg is joined by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Mexican conductor, Carlos Miguel Prieto. Prieto is currently the Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería. © 2017 iClassical Read complete review




Patrick Rucker
Gramophone, October 2017

Boris Giltburg certainly has something fresh to say in Rachmaninov’s Second Concerto, that well-worn, much-loved masterpiece, and in his new Naxos recording with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Prieto, he says it elegantly and eloquently. I avoid the word ‘personal’ because, while it is obvious that everything is deeply felt, what we hear seems a portrayal of the composer’s musical imagery, rather than the soloist’s take on it. The ‘money tunes’ aren’t milked but delivered with patrician simplicity. Consequently, they speed directly to the heart, creating resonance instead of overflow. Prieto and the Scots are near-ideal collaborators, stepping robustly forwards when called for, and always supporting with the utmost tact. When roles are reversed, as in the Adagio, Giltburg’s chaste accompaniment effortlessly holds the beautiful wind solos aloft. His varied articulation lends the swirls and eddies of figuration remarkable expressive vitality. For all the admirable attention to detail, one of the most appealing aspects of this performance is its grand trajectory. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Alex Baran
The WholeNote, September 2017

Giltburg’s performance of the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 demonstrates just how maniacally frenetic the opening movement can be. This kind of barely constrained raw energy has no match. It’s far more intense than it is fast, and it leaves a lasting impression. His approach to the second movement sets the expressive limits further apart than usual. The quiet moments, either solo or with a few wind players, are powerfully intimate. But he also injects a few surprising intensifications in unexpected places, consisting of a single line in the right hand. The effect is arresting.

The orchestra (RSNO) needs a laudatory remark here too. The guilty pleasure of smaller size is worth the indulgence; it lets us hear so much at a personal level. Closer recording gives us subtle sounds of bows, fingerboards and occasional wind keys. And then there’s the stunningly good horn section. © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2017

Boris Giltburg is a convincing performer in Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. He displays a lot of coherent interpretative ideas. …Once alone in the Études-Tableaux, the pianist achieves a commanding performance of this wide-ranging cycle. © 2017 Pizzicato



Infodad.com, September 2017

Pianist Boris Giltburg rises to this challenge yet again with his latest foray into the field for Naxos. This time he offers a strongly virtuosic, deeply emotional and satisfyingly unmawkish approach to the familiar Piano Concerto No. 2, producing a reading that emphasizes the grandeur and intensity of the first movement, which is taken at a slightly slower tempo than usual, with the result that all three movements are almost the same length. This leads to a rendition that is more tightly knit and carefully structured than those that the concerto often receives—it is easy for the work to spiral out of control into overstated turbulence, but Giltburg will have none of this, insisting on the concerto’s structural integrity throughout and handling its formidable technical demands on the basis that they exist to elucidate the composer’s communicative desires rather than simply as virtuosic display. This is a very thoughtful approach to the concerto, one in which Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra provide solid if not particularly idiomatic backup, …this is a very fine recording, and the CD gets even better when Giltburg performs on his own in the Études-tableaux, Op. 33. As in his previously released recording of the Études-tableaux, Op. 39, Giltburg approaches the eight Op. 33 pieces with sculptural elegance, shaping the music carefully… Clearly Giltburg has considerable affinity for Rachmaninoff in all the composer’s moods. © 2017 Infodad.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2017

The Russian-born Israeli virtuoso pianist, Boris Giltburg, continues his series of recordings for Naxos with a programme of music by Rachmaninov linked with two ‘encores’. His account of the Second Concerto displays a very personal approach that enjoys a freedom of tempo and rhythm, his first movement, in keeping with modern performances, being much extended on the tempos we hear in the composer’s recordings. Some may describe the approach as mannered, others would point that it displays his obvious affection for the music, and there are passages that are pure Giltburg. Like his recent recording of the Shostakovich concertos, I greatly admire his reluctance to inject virtuosity purely for its own sake, while his second movement is often withdrawn and unhurried. Equally when the work demands brilliance combined with clarity, as in the finale, his fingers have an admirable clarity and precision. He receives very good support from the Scottish orchestra and the Mexican conductor, Carlos Miguel Prieto. Giltburg continues with a similarly personal view of the Etudes-tableaux, a work that seems to have received so many recordings in recent times. It is believed to be a musical evocation of various pictures or events in the composer’s life, and you do find in Giltburg’s performance a feeling of nine unrelated ‘experiences’. Again I enjoy him for eschewing the temptation of making them into technical showpieces, and he delights in his filigree moments when his right hand makes notes sparkle like rare diamonds. The two ‘encores’ are just that, Giltburg free to extract every last drop of charm from them. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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