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LISZT, F.: 12 Études d'exécution transcendante / La Leggierezza / Rigoletto: Paraphrase de concert (Giltburg)


Naxos 8.573981

   MusicWeb International, October 2019
   American Record Guide, July 2019
   Limelight, May 2019
   Fanfare, May 2019
   The WholeNote, April 2019
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, April 2019
   MusicWeb International, March 2019
   Rafael’s Music Notes, March 2019
   Gramophone, March 2019
   ClassicalCDReview.com, March 2019
   Rondo Classic, March 2019
   Pizzicato, February 2019
   AllMusic.com, February 2019
   Crescendo (Germany), February 2019
   Opus Klassiek, February 2019
   NDR Kultur (NDR.de), February 2019
   WQXR (New York), January 2019
   Klassik heute, January 2019
   Rondo, January 2019
   iClassical, January 2019
   Online Merker, January 2019
   BRF1 Radio, January 2019
   The Sunday Times, London, January 2019
   BBC Sounds, January 2019
   Yorkshire Post, January 2019
   Ludwig Van Toronto, January 2019
   David's Review Corner, January 2019
   Classical Music Sentinel, January 2019

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Jonathan Welsh
MusicWeb International, October 2019

…This is a super recording of the Douze études d’exécution transcendente and the other works on this disc. It is one that I shall be returning to often. The interpretations are interesting and point up details, which are perhaps more elusive on other recordings. The clarity of the recording and also the purity with which Giltburg plays are marvellous and no details are lost or fudged. …I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this CD. I will now have to go and investigate this brilliant pianist’s other recordings as well. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Alan Becker
American Record Guide, July 2019

Boris Giltburg is a phenomenon. The music seems to ooze from every pore of his being, and he makes us think anew about what we are listening to. I renewed acquaintance with favored recordings from my collection (Ashkenazy, Berezovsky, Berman, Gekic, Kempf, Kultyshev, Strelchenko, Trifonov), but this one stands out for its ability to challenge the mind when thinking about Liszt’s magnificent opus. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Warwick Arnold
Limelight, May 2019

He [Giltburg] certainly has the transcendental chops; a technical facility that allows him the freedom to mould, shape and colour on a whim.

The disc kicks off with the Rigoletto Paraphrase; some extraordinary pianism dazzles… The concluding La Leggierezza is lovely… © 2019 Limelight Read complete review



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, May 2019

Giltburg is Naxos’s most prominent pianist; he has been widely praised for several Rachmaninoff discs. I started listening to this new release with high expectations … “Preludio” makes a good start—the pianist exudes confidence, the instrument is full and lifelike, as is Naxos’s recorded sound. “Fusées” continues the impression of confidence and a big technique; there’s also clarity and precision to admire… © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Alex Baran
The WholeNote, April 2019

Boris Giltburg’s new Naxos release Liszt Études d’exécution transcendante (8.573981, naxos.com) expands his impressive and growing discography for the label.

The Études alone would be enough to fill a disc but Giltburg also adds Liszt’s Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto and the second of the 3 Études de concert, S144/R2b. The Verdi Paraphrase is an example of the distance that any of Liszt’s paraphrases lie from their original material. With only the melody intact, Giltburg wraps the composer’s harmonic and ornamental creation around the operatic excerpt in a way that reimagines it as wholly new. © 2019 The WholeNote Read complete review



Audio Video Club of Atlanta, April 2019

It’s not surprising that Giltburg is so well-attuned to the visual and kinetic elements in these Transcendental Etudes, as Liszt’s musical world view encompassed the visual arts as well. That includes the visceral element in such instances as the chromatic scales simulating the howling of the wind in Chasse-neige (Snowstorm) or the stampede of alternating octaves in Wilde Jagd (Ghostly Huntsman).

Concert Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto, first up on the progam, takes its inspiration from the moonlit scene in the opera in which Rigoletto and Gilda witness the Duke’s infidelity in a clandestine tryst with Maddalena. Rather than just a potpurri of themes from the opera, it is a stand-alone concert piece that combines four voices and accompaniment in an ideally balanced scene that Giltburg rightly regards as a seamless integration of musicality and technique. As such, it is a perfect introduction to Liszt’s approach to the piano. © 2019 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, March 2019

In Giltburg’s hands, then, the music strikes you as more playful than ethereal or otherworldly—or devilish. The brighter, brilliant pieces, like the Molto vivace (No. 2) and Eroica emerge with plenty of energy and color, thanks in great part to Giltburg’s clear articulation and clean technique.

Giltburg is in the running for one of the top spots in the Liszt Transcendental sweepstakes. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Rafael de Acha
Rafael’s Music Notes, March 2019

Boris Giltburg is the kind of pianist capable of taking on these challenging compositions and making them sound like Important Music, which they are and are not, depending on one’s mood and mindset. For me they belong to a world of salon music by the likes of Thalberg, Gottschalk, Sarasate, Carreño, and others who wrote perfectly beautiful compositions deserving of being preserved and played today by technical wizards like Giltburg, a musician who infuses his playing with deep sensitivity, reminding us that he is a superb artist, in addition to being a virtuoso of his instrument.


This recent Naxos release was perfectly engineered by Simon Eadon and elegantly produced by Andrew Keener. © 2019 Rafael’s Music Notes Read complete review



Patrick Rucker
Gramophone, March 2019

Giltburg needs no introduction. His series of warmly received recordings… has secured him a deservedly prominent place on the map. © 2019 Gramophone



Robert E. Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, March 2019

This new recording was made June 25–27, 2018 in the UK’s Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth. Piano sound is slightly distant, but conveys the millions of notes effectively. I look forward to future releases by this musician who has entered the exalted realm that includes Danill Trifonov, Denis Matsuev, Simon Trpecski, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Arcadi Volodos. © 2019 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Antti Häyrynen
Rondo Classic, March 2019

…Giltburg’s Listz Etudes are amongst the best of their kind… © 2019 Rondo Classic




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, February 2019

Boris Giltburg’s new Liszt release is fascinating. He plays the Etudes in a very narrative way, with a lot of drama and poetic feelings as well. © 2019 Pizzicato




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, February 2019

Russian pianist Boris Giltburg gravitates toward the pure virtuoso tradition of the 19th and early 20th centuries. …He is oriented toward setting up technical problems and then solving them in what can be a very exciting way. Sample the poetic and highly varied Transcendental Etude No. 4, “Mazeppa,” which in Giltburg’s hands is a rocking roller-coaster ride. … A generally worthy and enjoyable Liszt release. © 2019 AllMusic.com Read complete review



Crescendo (Germany), February 2019

Tender and moving in the lyrical passages, passionate and energising in the virtuosic ones. © 2019 Crescendo (Germany)



Opus Klassiek, February 2019

Giltburg can be included in the illustrious list of Liszt interpreters of the first order. © 2019 Opus Klassiek



NDR Kultur (NDR.de), February 2019

Exceptional! © 2019 NDR Kultur (NDR.de)



Zev Kane
WQXR (New York), January 2019

The Best Classical New Releases of January 2019

Few pieces challenge pianists like Liszt’s Transcendental Études, a set of 12 fiendish showpieces that have terrorized virtuosos since their 1852 publication. Bravura requires bravado, and the Russian-Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg, who has quietly become one of the world’s most in-demand virtuosos since winning the 2013 Queen Elizabeth Competition, seems to possess it in spades. He conquers Liszt’s dirty dozen with curiosity, courage (buckle up for his fearsome opening to the “Wild Hunt” étude) and cunning. © 2019 WQXR (New York)




Stefan Pieper
Klassik heute, January 2019

Instead of illustrating as many competing technical demands as possible, Giltburg draws the listener deep into the contemplative sphere, making great art something deeply personal. © 2019 Klassik heute




Guido Fischer
Rondo, January 2019

Those—like Boris Giltburg—who through their mastery of the technical challenges manage to express the deeper poetic ideas, can count themselves amongst the very greatest pianists of today. © 2019 Rondo



iClassical, January 2019

I am becoming increasingly impressed by Boris Giltburg each time that I encounter a new release from him on the Naxos label. The Russian born, Israeli  pianist, is not only an outstandingly accomplished pianist, in the technical sense, but also someone who interprets the great works with a rare degree of insight and sensitivity. © 2019 iClassical Read complete review



Ingobert Waltenberger
Online Merker, January 2019

With his thrilling artistry, extreme dynamics and bold rubato Giltburg develops an inner drama and fire which makes poetry of these studies… Giltburg expresses in the most convincing way the boldness of Liszt’s vision, the modernity of these fantasmagorical, thrilling studies, and their transcendental power. © 2019 Online Merker



Hans Reul
BRF1 Radio, January 2019

With breathtaking virtuosity he allows us almost to forget the technical difficulties of the Transcendental Etudes, and puts the music first. A pleasure to listen to. © 2019 BRF1 Radio



Paul Driver
The Sunday Times, London, January 2019

Prefaced by the Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto and capped by La leggierezza, from 3 Etudes de concert, this realisation of the 1852 version of the 12 Etudes d’exécution transcendante makes a Liszt disc of the most compelling brilliance. It would be hard to imagine a more complete translation of virtuosity into poetry, the fiendish difficulties seized on as pure expressive bonus, so that one is aware of them as novel texture, never as wilfulness. Giltburg provides splendid liner notes, too. © 2019 The Sunday Times, London



BBC Sounds, January 2019

Pianist Boris Giltburg has already made impressive recordings of the Shostakovich and Rachmaninov piano concertos for Naxos. Now, he set down a complete set of Listz’s Transcendental Studies, which impresses right from the introductory flourishes, the first of the set. Thus endazzling technique on display also through a fine sense of drama and musical narrative as you’re about to hear in the extra study that comes at the end of the recital, “La Leggierezza” (Lightness). © 2019 BBC Sounds



David Denton
Yorkshire Post, January 2019

He possesses a staggeringly brilliant technique, and plays the work in Liszt’s original and most fiendishly difficult version. The result is a spine-tingling performance that will place the disc among the ‘legendary’ piano recordings of our time. © 2019 Yorkshire Post




Norman Lebrecht
Ludwig Van Toronto, January 2019

Giltburg supplies an unusually coherent booklet essay with this appealing set of the Liszt études, explaining both their technical difficulty and their innate popular appeal. His playing is every bit as approachable, moulding the mountain of notes into a romantic narrative and managing even the extra bits that Liszt inserted for pianists of exceptional range. © 2019 Ludwig van Toronto Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2019

This addition to Naxos’s complete solo piano music by Franz Liszt, brings one of today’s most outstanding keyboard exponents, the Russian-born, Boris Giltburg. I guess that his outgoing performing style takes him precious close to the composer’s concert appearances, if we are to believe contemporary reports. He possesses such a staggeringly brilliant technique that he can afford to take risks, though he never disfigures the music, nor does he sound at all taxed by the challenges posed by the Twelve Etudes performed in their 1852 final revision. At the same time his tempos are well chosen and seldom become overheated, and as we approach the work’s conclusion it has a spine-tingling brilliance that brings the illusion he has three hands. At the other extreme, in moments of introspection Giltburg takes the music down to a mere whisper, as we hear in the close of the Eleventh as it fades away. There is an abundance of available recordings as the great pianists have taken up the challenge, and this would certainly take its place in the ‘legendary’ league. He sets the scene with his colourful approach to the Rigoletto paraphrase, one of the composer’s ‘naughty’ uses of Verdi’s operatic arias. As a final ‘encore’ to an already generous playing time, he adds ‘Le leggierezza’ the second study to the Three Etudes de concert. The sound quality is a perfect example of clarity in a piano recording. Unreservedly recommended. © 2019 David’s Review Corner



Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, January 2019

…The young Moscow-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg, who won First Prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2013, not only has the technical prowess required to ascend and conquer these peaks of romantic piano compositions, but is also gifted with the artistic temperament to tame the wild beast inherent to all of them. His command of the dynamic build-ups in No. 11 in D-Flat Major, “Harmonies du soir” is magisterial, and the way he still manages to shape his phrasing in the devilishly fast No. 4 in D Minor, “Mazeppa” is simply amazing. Highly recommended! © 2019 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review





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