Russo-Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg has been one of the major prizewinners of the mid-2010s, and it's easy to see why: his suave, technically flawless playing is of the kind that's catnip to prize juries and quite a few members of the critical sphere. He did very well with Prokofiev and even Rachmaninov, where the meaning of the music is contained within technical devices. There is no question that the restrained, lightly poetic path he traces through Schumann's three big early sets of miniatures will be to the taste of listeners who like Schumann wrapped up just so, and find him the progenitor of the countless salon miniatures that followed over the next century or so. There's considerable justification for this position; even as Giltburg plays them, the Papillons, Op. 2, were sufficiently different from anything else being written in 1831 that you can still feel the sensation they made. It's equally true that for many listeners Giltburg's performance of Carnaval, Op. 9, especially, will totally fail to evoke the rambunctious spirit of the holiday portrayed, and throughout the program there is a certain lack of the transgressive dark side the young Schumann embodied. Probably the slighter, fantasy-imbued Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6, come off the best here, but sample well for Schumann with more grit.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6|
|Papillons, Op. 2|
|Carnaval - Scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes, Op. 9|