DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Liszt, Boris Giltburg, And A Fazioli Will Travel

By Norman Lebrecht on January 11, 2019

Boris Giltburg (Photo: Sasha Gusov)
Comparisons between pianists Daniil Trifonov and Boris Giltburg are inevitable, but this album shows he’s every bit as thoughtful and, of necessity, twice as ingenious. (Photo: Sasha Gusov)

Liszt: Etudes d’execution transcendente (Naxos)

★★★★ (out of five)

If you live in the age of Heifetz, a great violinist once told me, you need to find a different angle. Knowing that there is one guy who can play faster, flashier and more precisely than anyone else, all others have to find ways to adjust, either with an alternative repertoire, or with a friendlier public image.

That recipe remains true today for pianists living in the age of Daniil Trifonov who has, by common consent, a technique and intelligence that run like Usain Bolt several paces ahead of the pack. Among those who find a way to stay in touch is the 2013 Reine Elisabeth winner Boris Giltburg, who appears to be every bit as thoughtful as Trifonov and, of necessity, twice as ingenious.

Giltburg supplies an unusually coherent booklet essay with this appealing set of the Liszt études, explaining both their technical difficulty and their innate popular appeal. His playing is every bit as approachable, moulding the mountain of notes into a romantic narrative and managing even the extra bits that Liszt inserted for pianists of exceptional range. This kind of storytelling is very much in vogue — Trifonov does something similar with the Chopin études — but I have not heard it applied so effectively in Liszt as Giltburg does.

He bookends the set with two crowd-pleasers — the Rigoletto concert fantasy and ‘La leggierezza’ — both of which need to smile a bit more. But Giltburg is beyond doubt a major artist and the sound he gets out of a Fazioli on a remote Welsh estate will quite take your breath away.

Does anyone still play a Steinway?

Liszt: Piano Works with Boris Giltburg is available at Amazon, Spotify and iTunes.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | Damien Sneed And Friends Captivate For “We Shall Overcome”

By Brian Chang on January 14, 2019

Damien Sneed's “We Shall Overcome" wins us over with a refreshingly exuberant concert full of life.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Seong-Jin Cho's Mozart Checks Off All The Boxes

By Norman Lebrecht on December 28, 2018

To end the year, up pops a Mozart with five stars written all over it.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | American Jazz Musician Named Winner Of The 
Glenn Gould Protégé Prize

By Michael Vincent on January 10, 2019

Jessye Norman names jazz singer and composer Cécile McLorin Salvant, as the recipient of The Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.