Of all Beethoven’s piano concertos, it was No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 that left the strongest and most immediate impression on me as a child. The tangible tension of the dark, taut opening was electrifying, the inevitable fortissimo explosions awesome, the irresistible energy of the tutti passages exhilarating, and the sepulchral entrance of the orchestra at the end of the first movement mesmerising and chilling. Add to this the addictive nature of the finale’s almost dance-like tune, and I was totally lost under the music’s spell. In this, I later learned, I was close to 19th-century audiences, who loved this concerto above all others by Beethoven, including our present-day favourite, the Emperor.
…Boris Giltburg writes that he felt electrified by hearing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 as a child, grabbed by its darkness and drama, but later came to realise that it was mostly a lyrical work. His performance on this release – which completes a rewarding Beethoven concerto cycle with Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – holds these aspects in perfect balance, as two stages on a continuum rather than flipside opposites.
Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto is a departure into a new era. And that’s what Boris Giltburg makes us feel in his interpretation with the Liverpool Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko.
We have here two very personal, immediately spontaneous and highly dramatic interpretations of the two concertos, in which so many things sound excitingly new. And that makes us recommend these pianistically and orchestrally magnificent recordings without hesitation.
Having set himself the challenge in 2020 to record all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, Israeli classical pianist Boris Giltburg returns with a new recording of the composer’s Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 – the former, a showpiece balancing high drama, tenderness, lyricism and humour, and the latter, the composer’s most introspective and poetic concerto.