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RACHMANINOV, S.: Préludes, Op. 3, No. 2, Opp. 23 and 32 (Giltburg)


Naxos 8.574025

   American Record Guide, September 2019
   Daily Mail, August 2019
   MusicWeb International, August 2019
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, July 2019
   Fanfare, July 2019
   Gramophone, June 2019
   BBC Music Magazine, June 2019
   The Northern Echo, May 2019
   AllMusic.com, May 2019
   MusicWeb International, May 2019
   iClassical, May 2019
   Pizzicato, May 2019
   The Observer (London), April 2019
   The Sunday Times, London, April 2019
   The Classic Review, April 2019
   The Guardian, April 2019
   Financial Times, April 2019
   Lark Reviews, April 2019
   David's Review Corner, April 2019

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James Harrington
American Record Guide, September 2019

I can tell from his playing that Giltburg has large hands. He doesn’t break many of the chords that most do (last bars of the D-flat Prelude); and where Rachmaninoff calls for a staccato line in the left hand, legato lines in the middle and more staccato on top, most pianists have to touch the pedal a few times to keep the legato, and that slurs the staccatos (last page E-major Prelude). This requires the stretch of an 11th a couple of times (D-sharp to G-sharp and B to E). Giltburg plays these examples faultlessly. He can play as softly as anyone and captures the melodies with shape and inflections that few can offer. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Tully Potter
Daily Mail, August 2019

The famous C sharp minor Prelude, one of his earliest works, almost became a burden to composer Sergei Rachmaninov. He had to play it as an encore at every recital: no wonder he wrote 23 others, covering all the remaining keys—and Boris Giltburg plays all two dozen magnificently. The ten Preludes, Op. 23, were written in 1901–03, a decade after the C sharp minor, and the 13 Preludes, Op. 32, followed in 1910. They were all composed to a high standard. The G minor is a wonderful Alla marcia and many of the pieces invoke the sound of bells. The second last Prelude, in G sharp minor, is a particularly lovely piece, but there is not one Prelude here you would want to do without. The piano sound is very lifelike. © 2019 Daily Mail




Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, August 2019

At any rate, Giltburg’s set of the 24 preludes is my first choice now and one more fine example of his superior keyboard art. © MusicWeb International Read complete review



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, July 2019

Giltburg, a capable writer as well as a fantastic keyboard artist, compliments his performances…

Giltburg gives a sensitive rendition of the famous Prelude in C sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2, which was such a favorite of audiences, who invariably called for it to be encored… © 2019 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, July 2019

In Giltburg’s case, a total timing of 79 minutes is only slightly slower than the usual. He has fluid technique, shows good taste, and rarely sounds effortful. Naxos provides full, realistic piano sound. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Harriet Smith
Gramophone, June 2019

Giltburg’s preoccupation with clarity of texture means that the tumultuous climax of Op 32 No 8 in A minor never becomes overbearing, and this makes fine contrast with the airy writing, which he dispatches with ease. This is followed by a wonderfully rich reading of the A major Prelude, while the siciliano rhythm of No 10 has a solemn tread…

The closing Prelude of Op 32 sums up Giltburg’s approach – opening with a quietude that harks back to the early C sharp minor Prelude, while the turmoil that follows is presented with an absolute command of texture and clarity but without the storminess some bring to it, though its closing chords have a glorious richness. © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




BBC Music Magazine, June 2019

Having notched up three well-received Rachmaninov discs for Naxos already, it was surely only a matter of time before Boris Giltburg would get around to the 24 preludes composed across two decades, corralled into two collections and introduced by that standalone warhorse in C sharp minor. It’s been worth the wait. In his liner note Giltburg argues that Op. 32 is more modern in spirit (a relative concept when it comes to Rachmaninov!), and his trenchant pianism effortlessly adjusts with a rugged, thrusting account of the C major prelude that launches the later set.

He neatly characterises the B flat minor’s mercurial twists, and utterly nails the chiselled energy of the E major (whilst skilfully delineating the artful strategies of its E minor sibling). And if there’s always a keen intellect watching over the virtuosic bravura, Giltburg excels in Rachmaninov’s rarely-distant poetry. His pellucid right hand traces a limpid line through Op. 32/5; and how achingly poignant he makes the momentary swerve into the minor before G major banishes the clouds.

Op. 23 is just as persuasive; the E flat love letter to Rachmaninov’s newly-born daughter, caressing, the serene polyphony of the initially Chopinesque D major beautifully teased out. Hugely recommendable, and at budget price it’s a steal! © 2019 BBC Music Magazine



The Northern Echo, May 2019

Pianist Boris Giltburg give a scintillating recital of Rachmaninov’s Préludes. © 2019 The Northern Echo




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, May 2019

For clean passagework at the highest possible skill level, Giltburg is a pianist to turn to now, and where the excitement is built into the piano writing, so to speak, the spirit of Rachmaninov himself will seem to breathe in his playing. Sample the Prelude in C minor, Op. 23, No. 7, which begins with almost impossible speed and then adds multiple counterpoints; few pianists can hold the whole structure gently in hand the way Giltburg can. …He’s the type of player to bring the crowd to their feet, and this recording is as good a place as any to start with him. Giltburg benefits from fine sound engineering at the entirely acoustically appropriate Wyastone Estate concert hall. © 2019 AllMusic.com Read complete review




Roy Westbrook
MusicWeb International, May 2019

Op.32 has perhaps the greater challenges in terms of interpretation. The fourth one in E minor has an unusual number of metrical switches for Rachmaninov and two big climaxes. After the lento middle part there is a poco a poco accelerando leading back to a presto possible culmination. All this is expertly managed by Giltburg, who makes it all sound of a piece, inevitable, and it must be said, exciting.

This is a tremendous account of the complete Preludes, and on a very fine instrument very well recorded. It can be highly recommended alongside the various other strong versions in the catalogue from Ashkenazy, Berezovsky, Osborne and quite a few others. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



iClassical, May 2019

…On this recording we get highly rewarding accounts of both that show Giltburg to have a multi-faceted range of skills in delivering musically satisfying performances of these technically challenging and demanding works. Recorded in the exceptional acoustic of the concert hall on the Wyastone Estate, Monmouth in high definition sound this bargain priced issue comes as a top recommendation. © 2019 iClassical Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2019

This is a fascinating account of Rachmaninov’s 24 Preludes, very coherent, rich, colourful and pulsating. © 2019 Pizzicato



The Observer (London), April 2019

All are played with vivid skill, colour and poetry by the young Moscow-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg. © 2019 The Observer (London)



Paul Driver
The Sunday Times, London, April 2019

Rachmaninov’s Préludes are so substantial—big-boned even when wistful—that they always seem an arrival. They aren’t, like Chopin’s, a through-composed entity, but here, too, each tonality figures and it’s arresting to listen to the whole. Highlights of this beautiful account must be the magical G major, Op 32, No 5, the immense B minor (inspired by a Böcklin painting) and the complementary outer pieces in C sharp minor and D flat. © 2019 The Sunday Times, London



Tal Agam
The Classic Review, April 2019

Those familiar with Giltburg’s uncanny attachment to this music will not be surprised by the quality of the execution, but in this version it may be even more clearly manifested than before. The first set, Op. 23, is presented with an almost single sweep of unforced naturalness, with famous preludes such as the G Minor (No. 5) given lovely interpretation, the contrasting elements truly interact with each other rather than weakening one another. The second prelude from this set dances softly, and ends with a sense of inevitable closure. Thick-layered preludes as No. 7 is presented with a multicolored flair that never sounds like a superficial virtuosity. Famous alternative versions of this cycle, such as Rodriguez’s or Ashkenazy’s, sound almost plain in comparison.

Giltburg is recorded, once again, at the concert hall of Wyastone Estate (Monmouth, UK). The recording quality, as well as the well-voiced Fazioli piano used, are contributing factors in making this a significant addition to a competitive Rachmaninov catalog. Highly recommended. © 2019 The Classic Review Read complete review



Fiona Maddocks
The Guardian, April 2019

Rachmaninov’s Preludes for solo piano, written in various stages between 1892 and 1910, also caused him grief (“I dislike this occupation and it’s heavy going”) but resulted in 24 remarkable, varied Romantic miniatures covering all the major and minor keys, following the example of Chopin. As with The Isle of the Dead, some had visual prompts (again from Böcklin paintings), others are abstract, their stories unknown. Familiar as solo pieces, the “tolling bells” of Op 3 No 2 in C sharp minor, the surging energy of Op 23 No 2 in B flat, the exotic majesty of Op 23 No 5 in G minor, all are played with vivid skill, colour and poetry by the young Moscow-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg (Naxos). Hear his Inside Music (Radio 3) from last week on BBC Sounds. © 2019 The Guardian




Richard Fairman
Financial Times, April 2019

Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes – patient, refreshing and intimate

Boris Giltburg performs Rachmaninov’s complete preludes with dexterity and panache.

Altogether, this is a cherishable disc. © 2019 Financial Times



Lark Reviews, April 2019

While these can be seen as means of studying the composer’s musical development they are also so enjoyable that the academic is quickly forgotten in the pleasure of being led through the whole collection. A very pleasing recording on every level. © 2019 Lark Reviews



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2019

Following in the footsteps of Bach, Chopin and Scriabin, Sergey Rachmaninov composed a series of miniatures that covered all the 24 major and minor keys. Having composed the famous Prelude in C sharp minor in 1892, it was to be a further eighteen years before he completed the task with the 13 Preludes published in 1910. They were to cover a wide spectrum of moods, each Prelude able [to] stand alone, whereas the series written by Bach and, to a much greater extent, by Chopin, were inter-related. That in itself offers the performer a greater depth of freedom and expression, and for interpretive pianists, such as Boris Giltburg, it presents the possibility of fashioning a rounded view for each Prelude as an entity. I recall, back in the 1960’s, hearing the pianist, Sergio Fiorentino, who brought so much individuality to each Prelude, that he made all other performances seem lacking in colour, and Giltburg has had much the same effect. There is here such a sense of authority in his approach that his view becomes unarguable. Turn to the sixth of the opus 23 Preludes, and the sheer swagger of the Alla marcia is riveting, while there is an unusual wind blowing through the Tenth. Time and again he imparts a strength that focuses on the composer’s innate power, as in the Third and Fourth of Opus 32, and in the unhurried a pensive composer that we find in the Tenth. So I could enumerate my impression of each track, but this is a disc that captures Giltburg’s very personal journey and concludes with a magical account of the Twenty-Fourth Prelude. With a wide dynamic range, the sound quality is the most successful I have heard from this venue. Thoroughly recommended. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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