Rachmaninov: Etudes-Tableaux & Moments Musicaux - Boris Giltburg

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About this CD


Giltburg, Boris


Release Date:
29th April 2016

Catalogue Number:

Rachmaninov: Etudes-Tableaux & Moments Musicaux – Boris Giltburg


Giltburg’s previous ventures on Naxos (Schumann and Beethoven) gave a hint at his deep artistry, but it is with Rachmaninov that he fully opens up, marrying his enormous technique to soulful artistic insights. Writing his own booklet notes, he draws us poetically into his interpretations of the Etudes-Tableaux as ambiguous, multifaceted pieces that deserve so much more than their ‘etude’ title: ‘The weight of the other elements – the emotional, the storytelling, the world-creating and atmosphere-building – is so great, the technical difficulties are almost an inconvenience we impatiently want to overcome in order to gain access to the material underneath.’ Technical difficulties though there may be throughout this repertoire, and maybe no more so than in the Moments Musicaux set, Giltburg’s seemingly effortless hurdling of them allows the melodic beauty of this music to sing out. Sonically, the listener wants for nothing. Dense passages present a wall of sound that is not overbearing but immensely detailed; thinner textures show off the crystalline tone of the piano recorded at Wyastone Leys, Monmouthshire. Giltburg has been praised elsewhere for these recordings which present something new amongst a sea of flashy players with nothing to say. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Matthew Swan

Media / Summary

Label's Recording Summary:

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 program (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 program 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 Companion Titles – his growing cohort of fans in the 21st.

Works Featured:
Disc Name:
: Rachmaninov: Études-tableaux, Op. 39 :
: Rachmaninov: Moments Musicaux, Op. 16 :

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