Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Boris Giltburg plays Rachmaninov

I noticed the release of Boris Giltburg playing Rachmaninov's Etudes-Tableaux Op 39, and the Moments Musicaux Op 16. Since I love both sets of pieces, I put the CD on my wishlist. After a time, I decided that, given I already had several recordings of both pieces, including those by Zlata Chochieva and Xiayin Wang, I would forgo Giltburg, so I took him off the wishlist. Then a highly laudatory review in the Gramophone magazine put him back on the wishlist. Then I noticed it was a Naxos CD, and thus only around the price of a good sirloin steak in the supermarket. So I bought the CD, happily for me.

Giltburg is a pianist on this CD with superb pianism, and a superlative range of sound and dynamics. Some pieces I found too slow for my taste, but it did not matter when Giltburg played them this way. Like Rachmaninov himself, the pianist concentrates on the music, eschewing showmanship. Zlata and Xiayin are still there in my must-listen pile. But so now is Giltburg. Strange to remember that Rachmaninov the composer was once somewhat looked down on by “those in the know”; it is dangerous to write music that music lovers really like!

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