Although he now lives in Israel and was mostly trained there, pianist Boris Giltburg is a representative of the pure Russian school -- powerful, brilliant, and sweeping. Rachmaninov ought to be his métier, and so it is. For clean passagework at the highest possible skill level, Giltburg is a pianist to turn to now, and where the excitement is built into the piano writing, so to speak, the spirit of Rachmaninov himself will seem to breathe in his playing. Sample the Prelude in C minor, Op. 23, No. 7, which begins with almost impossible speed and then adds multiple counterpoints; few pianists can hold the whole structure gently in hand the way Giltburg can. The famous prelude that announced Rachmaninov to the world, the Morceau de Fantaisie in C sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2, has plenty of monumental power. Where Rachmaninov offers programmatic mystery, or approaches Chopin's rarefied world, Giltburg is merely good, not great. But go see him if he's in your town on tour with these: he's the type of player to bring the crowd to their feet, and this recording is as good a place as any to start with him. Giltburg benefits from fine sound engineering at the entirely acoustically appropriate Wyastone Estate concert hall.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|10 Préludes, op. 23|
|13 Préludes, Op. 32|