Rachmaninov - Etudes-tableaux op.39, Moments musicaux | Naxos 8573469

Rachmaninov - Etudes-tableaux op.39, Moments musicaux


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Label: Naxos

Cat No: 8573469

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 29th April 2016



Pianist Boris Giltburg sees Rachmaninov’s Études-tableaux, op.39 as cinematic short stories or colourful tone paintings. In contrast, the unashamedly beautiful Moments musicaux are concentrated explorations of a single idea or mood, from struggle and pain towards light and genuine joy. In these collections, which contain some of the composer’s most affecting music, Rachmaninov shows himself to be a master of the meticulously crafted short-form genre.

Pianist Boris Giltburg’s recordings for Naxos continue with some of Rachmaninov’s best loved solo repertoire. Giltburg’s 2015 Schumann programme (8573399) was widely acclaimed, BBC Music Magazine stating that “His tone is pure velvet, cushioned and almost vocal in quality with never a hint of harshness — and complemented here by excellent recording — and the phrasing is always eloquent.” This was followed soon after by a programme of Beethoven sonatas (8573400), admired by Gramophone: “Giltburg’s highly articulated fingerwork… gives appropriate variety and character to the gnarly writing… Naxos provides superb, full-bodied and detailed sound.”

These works are always popular on record and we have of course visited this repertoire before, notably in highly regarded recordings made in the 1990s by the remarkable Idil Biret. With multiple award-winning artist Boris Giltburg we have the opportunity of bringing a freshly imaginative view onto some of the 20th century’s finest Russian piano music, and introducing it to his growing cohort of fans in the 21st.


[Giltburg] puts his very considerable powers at the service of the composer’s visionary imagination, conjuring a vivid range of textures that are superbly controlled.  Jessica Duchen
BBC Music Magazine August 2016
Boris Giltburg, the Russian-born Israeli pianist who won the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition, is that genuine rarity: a pianist whose Rachmaninov is entirely idiomatic yet intensely personal in a way that yields fresh perspectives on this well traversed repertory. Having many of the varied qualifications that make a great Rachmaninov player certainly helps. To begin with, Giltburg’s sense of rhythm is impeccable, with a chaste application of rubato that is organically derived from the life of the phrase. He is a master of the great surges and retractions of energy so specific to the composer. Giltburg’s pellucid sound is never forced; his large dynamic range has a soft spectrum, between mezzo-piano and ppp, which is infinitely calibrated and shaded. Clarity is everywhere paramount. ... Without ostentation or fuss, he has examined these scores in every kind of light, lived with them and come up with a vision that, without being wilfully contrarian, is nevertheless something beyond received wisdom. I suspect that before long this vision will place him among the truly memorable Rachmaninov interpreters, an elect including Moiseiwitsch, Horowitz, Kappel, Richter and Cliburn. His 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.  Patrick Rucker (Recording of the Month)
Gramophone June 2016
The Russian-Israeli Boris Giltburg, in his CD note to … Op 39, describes them as short stories: “captivating, meticulously crafted to trim all excess… movies with accomplished cinematography and lighting”. 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.  Fiona Maddocks
The Observer 5 June 2016
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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