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Beethoven’s First Concerto seems to be a particular fascination for Boris Giltburg, this fine account following on from his rather good disc of Sonatas 8, 21 and 32. Again, Giltburg confirms his tangible and real feeling for Beethoven’s music, shaping the robust opening Allegro con brio convincingly and the concluding Rondo likewise. The fluency and poetry that Giltburg has shown in other repertoire is much in evidence in the central Largo as well as in the scherzando elements of the finale. His lightness of touch is put to good effect in the Second Concerto, a more Mozartian conception, lacking the bigger muscle of No 1.

How do these accounts compare with rivals in what is a very crowded, competitive field? Giltburg’s are not quite as strong as Sudbin’s with Vänskä (BIS), nor as revelatory in No 2 as Schwizgebel and Fischer (Aparté). However, the contribution of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra should not be overlooked, as they provide exemplary and strongly characterised support throughout under Petrenko. The orchestra’s symphonic successes on disc sometimes cause their finesse as accompanists to be forgotten, but it is a major plus here. And you get the original Rondo finale of No 2, WOO6, as a bonus. All for budget price too.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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