So little connects the two concertos on this album, besides their common key of E flat major, that it seems almost incongruous that both were composed by the same person, albeit at two very different stages in life: Beethoven, aged 13 and 38. On the one hand we have the ‘Emperor’ Concerto, one of the most famous concertos in piano literature, radiant and glowing, showing Beethoven at one of the peaks of his creative and imaginative powers. On the other there is the Piano Concerto No. 0, WoO 4, one of his earliest works and among the least known, a composition of masterful craftsmanship and self-assured bravura, although one that perhaps does not yet foreshadow Beethoven’s true genius. (full sleeve notes)
Giltburg’s clear articulation and Petrenko’s transparent reading allow us to follow compositional structures, but in this beautiful architecture and its well-kept interior, there are always particularly beautiful tonal sensitivities, a very lively, sparklingly alert and always spontaneous discourse and, above all, a delightful cantabile.
Boris Giltburg’s recording of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto is offered with a scintillating twist… This brings Giltburg’s Beethoven concerto cycle to a close, his ebullience and physicality the reverse of plain-speaking, brilliantly partnered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under Vasily Petrenko.
Giltburg makes you listen with new ears to one of the most familiar and greatly loved works in the repertoire. The Piano Concerto No 0 (played in Beethoven’s original piano reduction) may be a protracted jeu d’esprit, but Giltburg’s relish of its tonic, virtuoso aplomb sets the pulse racing. Naxos soundworld is of an exceptional clarity and focus.
International Piano Magazine
Boris Giltburg gives a fine account of the ‘Emperor’ Concerto which honours Beethoven’s markings plus the many additional traditions of rubato and tempo modification accumulated in the work’s performance history.
BBC Music Magazine
[In Concerto No. 5] his transparency of line, his extreme delicacy and evenness of touch, and his is sense of fun reap heavenly rewards. His ‘Emperor’ is also very enjoyable.