horizontal line

Following his well-received disc for Naxos of early Schumann, Boris Giltburg has turned his attention to Beethoven, in an imaginative programme of sonatas in C from the early and middle periods culminating in the last. And what a formidable trio of sonatas this is: three of the most familiar and the finest.

Giltburg rises well to the challenge. His Pathétique is well thought through and rather more convincingly achieved than Scherbakov’s (reviewed in IP issue No 33). In tempo, he is closer to Goldstone (Divine Arts) than Lewis (Harmonia Mundi) and his shaping of the music is nicely done although he does not displace either rival.

In the Waldstein (a performance of which has appeared on disc before, in Avi Music’s Ruhr Festival collection), Gilrburg’s poetic gifts are even more keenly heard, interwoven with a degree of muscle the early sonatas do not require. I particularly liked his way with the Rondo, one of Beethoven’s greatest piano sonata movements. His interpretation of Sonata No 32 takes him, perhaps, to the limits of his technical and interpretative range.

Naxos’ sound is clear and natural though not quite as intimate as Goldstone’s in the Pathétique, or as vivid as Freddy Kempf enjoyed for BIS in his marginally superior account of Op 111.

My first choice in all these sonatas remains Paul Lewis; but if you want just these particular works on a single disc, Giltburg is a virtuosic and thoughtful executant. Recommended.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Piano International, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing