Piano Concerto No. 3 & Variations on a Theme of Corelli

Play sample

Rachmaninov’s gift as a storyteller extends to a large spectrum of musical forms, from powerful, gripping, cinematic short stories, such as many of his piano miniatures, through to longer compositions (his Isle of the Dead is among the most evocative tone poems I know) and up to the large-scale canvases of his symphonies. In his concertos, I feel that the element of storytelling reaches a unique high point in Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30—a narrative tapestry of such richness and variety that it seems to me to rival that of a great novel. The concerto’s length and scope allow it to explore a broad musical terrain, with many digressions and subplots woven into the main narrative. (read more—full sleeve notes)

Gramophone - Editor's Choice

Pizzicato - Supersonic

NDR Kultur - CD of the week

Boris Giltburg’s new Naxos recording of the D minor Concerto with Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra shatters the encrustation of reputational habit, offering instead a vividly imaginative re creation of a score that lives and breathes with irresistible vitality. Giltburg’s approach is fundamentally lyrical, rhetorically apt and, aided and abetted by Prieto and the Scots, sensitive to every marking in the score.

[...] In place of Cliburn’s sensually beautiful sound or Horowitz’s feline nervous energy, Giltburg gives us thoughtfully conceived rhetoric, with an unerring focus on Rachmaninov’s shrewd harmonic movement rather than a succession of dazzling figuration. Human scale, naturally sculpted phrases and pliant rhythms compellingly invite our reconsideration of this formidable artwork.

Gramopohone, July 2018

Giltburg’s masterfully coherent, richly detailed, colourful and overall exciting account of Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto is a real treat. The pianist is extremely well supported by the Scottish National under Carlos Miguel Prieto in a well-balanced recording. Giltburg’s Corelli Variations are no less thrilling. He is not only displaying a fantastic digital dexterity but he also shows the various moods of the piece to perfection.

Pizzicato, July 2018

More impressive piano playing this week comes from the Russian-born, Israeli-bred Boris Giltburg. Aside from his technical dexterity, the chief glory in his account of Rachmaninov’s Concerto No 3, recorded two years ago with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the conductor Carlo Miguel Prieto, is the performance’s overarching sweep. Whatever the mood, pensive or muscular, dark-toned or brilliant, the notes keep flowing, intricately patterned with echoing gestures and hidden variations. Coupled with the RSNO’s warm radiance, the cumulative effect is deliciously heady.

The Times, May 2018

An Israeli pianist with Russian roots, a Scottish orchestra, a Mexican conductor—you would think of this as not a really special cast in today’s Classical music business. But then you hear that there is something melting in the sound that does not just repeat the tradition of that “great, old, heavy, soulful Russian” cliché. Just the opposite is the case: The orchestra sounds light, bright, elastic and that fits formidably well to that well controlled and explicitly balanced way of piano playing by Boris Giltburg.

NDR Kultur, June 2018