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Boris Giltburg - Piano Recital

Release Date: 06/06/2006 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 53232   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyAlexander ScriabinSergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Boris Giltburg
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Just as Evgenia Rubinova provided a carefully planned recital in the latest batch of EMI debut issues, Boris Giltburg presents three contrasting, yet complementary Soviet masterworks. Giltburg, who was born in 1984 in Moscow, is now based in Tel Aviv, and his career seems on the cusp of blossoming.

By far the most famous is the Mussorgsky Pictures, a work that benefits from excellent recording quality. Producer John Fraser and engineer Arne Akselberg together provide a luxurious sound that is clear and true to the piano sound. Giltburg has a real arsenal of tonal resources at his command—his touch is remarkably varied. A nicely shaded “Old Castle,” an appropriately heavy “Ox Cart,” and a beautiful “Catacombs” all bear this
Read more out. Perhaps “The Marketplace at Limoges” is the most successful picture—the women chatter very convincingly. Yet somehow it does not all add up. “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs” is decidedly studio-bound, and if the lead-in to the finale is acceptable, the arrival of “Great Gate of Kiev” is a real disappointment. The close of the work misses the visceral energy inherent in the score. Any pianist surely sits in the shadow of Sviatoslav Richter’s great live Sofia performance (Philips—if this does not have you on the edge of your seat, nothing will).

Giltburg refers in his booklet notes to the “translucency” of the Scriabin Sonata’s first movement, and it is true that his playing is very delicate indeed. In fact, he ensures the music hangs between the elusive and the mystic (which is exactly what it needs, else it just sounds like late-Romantic harmonic doodling). The finale is wonderfully nimble.

If Giltburg treads on Richter territory in the Mussorgsky, he’s positively stomping on it with the mighty Prokofiev Eighth Sonata. This is a piece that is slow to reveal its secrets. To his credit, Giltburg understands the work’s mystery. The long, quarter-of-an-hour first movement unfolds gradually. Moments of great delicacy encourage the listener to hang on every note, while Giltburg’s intelligence shines through his awareness of voice-leading. The nocturnally scurrying coda is very fine indeed. The deliciously bittersweet Andante sognando includes moments of real Impressionist-like beauty before a spiky finale closes the performance. Here, in this last movement, Giltburg surely could have transcended the studio limitations to be even more diabolic.

It must be admitted that this disc is a more enjoyable listening experience than the Rubinova—if it is a choice of which pianist gets your dollars, send them in the direction of Giltburg!

FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

Pictures at an Exhibition for Piano by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Boris Giltburg (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/2005 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England  
Length: 33 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano no 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19 "Sonata fantasy" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Giltburg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1897; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/2005 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano no 8 in B flat major, Op. 84 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Boris Giltburg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939-1944; USSR 
Date of Recording: 11/2005 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 27 Minutes 54 Secs. 

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