Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 - Giltburg; Royal Liverpool PO / Petrenko

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About this CD


Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Petrenko, Vasily



Release Date:
13th January 2017

Catalogue Number:

Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 – Giltburg; Royal Liverpool PO / Petrenko


This disc is scheduled for release on 13 January. Any orders placed will be posted on this day.

Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 for piano, trumpet and strings was completed in 1933, at a period in the composer’s life before any official displeasure with his music. The mood is one of youthful assuredness, celebratory in its eclecticism but also brooding and emotive. At the time this recording was made, Giltburg was only 4 or 5 years older than Shostakovich would have been when he made the premiere performance, and this same youthful assuredness seems to carry over. The way Giltburg confidently handles the jaunty rhythm and tempo changes, not to mention the keyboard acrobatics of the fourth movement, indicates a musician who seems to intrinsically belong with this music. Indeed, Giltburg says himself in his excellent booklet note (and this quote must be taken in full): ‘Shostakovich is the composer I couldn’t live without. I am addicted to the raw, visceral power of his music, to his intuitive ability to distil in to music the most basic, even primitive human emotions – fear, anger, lust, hate, but also love and hope for happiness – and hurl them at the listener with such force that one’s being reverberates in shock.’ It was this connection and the lack of a solo piano work that came close to the emotional depth of the symphonies or string quartets that led Giltburg to arrange the String Quartet No. 8 for piano. The end result is an incredible feat of both musicianship and pianism, as Giltburg makes it sound idiomatic to the instrument but keeps the taut, intense emotional concentration of the original. The fourth movement Largo lurches from those terrifying ‘knocking’ chords to the gentle, downcast fugato that opens the fifth.

The Piano Concerto No. 2 was written in 1957 as a present from Shostakovich to his son, Maxim. Comparatively jolly, it has remained one of the composer’s most publicly popular works. Whilst full of pianistic excitement, it also contains some excellent orchestral writing which Vasily Petrenko extracts from the RLPO with vast attention to detail. The tuttis? in the first movement are expansive and lush, although never overpowering the piano. Giltburg’s choice of a Fazioli piano throughout this recording is notable, particularly for the detail captured in the upper registers at fast tempi.

The concertos are well-represented in the catalogue with recordings from the composer himself up to recent greats such as Alexander Melnikov and Marc-André Hamelin. However, the couplings of the String Quartet No. 8 arrangement, and a further track from the third movement of String Quartet No. 2 thrown in for good measure, make this absolutely essential listening for any Shostakovich fan.

Reviewed by: Matthew Swan

Media / Summary

Label's Recording Summary:

Shostakovich’s two Piano Concertos span a period of almost thirty years. The youthful First Piano Concerto is a masterful example of eclecticism, its inscrutable humour and seriousness allied to virtuoso writing enhanced by the rôle for solo trumpet. Written as a birthday present for his son Maxim, the Second Piano Concerto is light-spirited with a hauntingly beautiful slow movement. With the permission of the composer’s family, Boris Giltburg has arranged the exceptionally dark, deeply personal and powerful String Quartet No. 8, thereby establishing a major Shostakovich solo piano composition.

Works Featured:
Disc Name:
: Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor for piano, trumpet & strings, Op. 35 :
: Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102 :
: Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68 (arranged for piano by Boris Giltburg. World Première Recording) :
: Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 (arranged for piano by Boris Giltburg. World Première Recording) :

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