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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Daniil Trifonov's journey around the world of Rachmaninov is at an end. The pianist has arrived safely into the harbour with Yannick Nézet-Seguin's Philadelphia Orchestra. This finale was inspired by the bells which are ubiquitous in the Great Russian soundscape. Alain Corbin explained their importance to the rhythmic and symbolic scansion of everyday life in 19th Century France in his book Village Bells. To the historian's analysis, we can now add the testimony of the pianist – who, like Rachmaninov, grew up in Novgorod. Russian bells leant Russian music its nobility and colouring of folk nostalgia. Daniil Trifonov hasn't forgotten this, as is clear from his piano transcription of the first episode of Les Cloches. He was wise enough to respect the operatic power of the score and the splendour of its orchestration: harp, celesta and flutes are all truly transformed into bells in the hands of a musician who stays true to the aura of disquieting oddness (with its shades of Edgar Allen Poe) which surrounds the first movement. His technique matches his capricious and bubbling imagination. While we might find ourselves yawning a little at the Vocalise, the first and third Concertos move us from thrilling ecstasies to tears of pleasure. A very fine record, in which the orchestra, perhaps a little distant, fulfils its role as a soundbox for the soloist. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released April 12, 2019 | Naxos

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Although he now lives in Israel and was mostly trained there, pianist Boris Giltburg is a representative of the pure Russian school -- powerful, brilliant, and sweeping. Rachmaninov ought to be his métier, and so it is. For clean passagework at the highest possible skill level, Giltburg is a pianist to turn to now, and where the excitement is built into the piano writing, so to speak, the spirit of Rachmaninov himself will seem to breathe in his playing. Sample the Prelude in C minor, Op. 23, No. 7, which begins with almost impossible speed and then adds multiple counterpoints; few pianists can hold the whole structure gently in hand the way Giltburg can. The famous prelude that announced Rachmaninov to the world, the Morceau de Fantaisie in C sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2, has plenty of monumental power. Where Rachmaninov offers programmatic mystery, or approaches Chopin's rarefied world, Giltburg is merely good, not great. But go see him if he's in your town on tour with these: he's the type of player to bring the crowd to their feet, and this recording is as good a place as any to start with him. Giltburg benefits from fine sound engineering at the entirely acoustically appropriate Wyastone Estate concert hall. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 11, 2018 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
While Israeli-Russian pianist Boris Giltburg’s career is taking off all over the world, he has felt very close to Belgium ever since he won first prize in the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition. After several recordings for EMI (Warner), here he gives a studio rendition of the Third Concerto, and the Variations on a Theme of Corelli by Sergei Rachmaninov, on his tenth album for Naxos, which completes his often-unique approach to the Russian pianist-composer. The Études-tableaux and the Second Concerto divided opinion, with some seeing him as a "new Glenn Gould" (sic) who would do away with routines, while others drew attention to the total indifference of his style. Boris Giltburg's technique is such that he can give free rein to his imagination while taking care of the minute details of one of the most difficult concertos in the repertoire. Fascinated by the manufacture of instruments, in 2016 he took up the new 102-key piano from French manufacturer Stephen Paulello, a thrilling instrument which the musical world has been eagerly anticipating for a long time, and which proves that, just like in the 19th century, the piano can still evolve towards other sounds. For this Concerto n° 3, recorded at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, Boris Giltburg returns to his dear Fazioli piano and is joined by Mexican conductor Carlo Miguel Prieto at the head of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released February 16, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Unfortunately no, dear reader, there is no such thing as a cycle of “24 Preludes” by Rachmaninoff; however there are indeed 24 Preludes: a collection of ten Op. 23 from 1903, 13 other Op. 32 from 1910 and one isolated Prelude from the Morceaux de fantaisie Op. 3 (Fantasy Pieces) from 1893. In total: 24 Preludes, in which as a simple count shows Rachmaninoff − much like Chopin and of course Bach − illustrated all major and minor tones. Deliberately random, or the involuntary drive to create a reasonably coherent cycle? Contrary to his two illustrious predecessors, Rachmaninoff didn’t order his Preludes according to a specific tonal plan: the musician’s fantasy develops bit by bit. Nikolai Lugansky – described by the famous magazine Gramophone as “the most innovative and transcendent interpreter of all” (so much for the others…), truly an extraordinarily deep and polyvalent pianist – decided to present the Preludes in the order prescribed by partitions, rather than reorganising them according to some hypothetical tonal logic, without knowing if Rachmaninoff would even have recommended or even considered it, particularly as the constant alternation of moods, independently of any tonal consideration, gives the piece a sense of perfect coherence. Finally it’s worth mentioning that Lugansky offers a very “original” interpretation of this divine music, which may feel like a re-discovery to some listeners. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released May 6, 2016 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month
Boris Giltburg's 2016 release on Naxos consists of two sets of piano pieces by Sergey Rachmaninov, the Études-tableaux, Op. 39 (1916-1917), and the Moments musicaux, Op. 16 (1896). The Études-tableaux are a cross between technical studies and character pieces, reminiscent of the etudes of Frédéric Chopin, and they present considerable challenges, even to virtuoso pianists. Here, Giltburg displays his remarkable skills, as well as a range of expressions that run from the fiery and turbulent to the atmospheric and melancholy. In the Moments musicaux, Rachmaninov experimented with short forms, such as the nocturne, etude, funeral march, barcarolle, and theme with variations, and these pieces demonstrated his mastery of piano technique, if not yet his full maturity as a composer. Giltburg's playing brings out a variety of colors and textures, and his passionate interpretations accord with Rachmaninov's youthful, ardent style. The recording in the Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth offers a big sound with great resonance, though all the details of the music are easily heard, thanks to close microphone placement. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released October 1, 2012 | Ambroisie

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released March 10, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Symphonic Music - Released February 2, 2018 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 étoiles de Classica
Rachmaninov's The Bells is of vast scope, setting an adaptation of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe (free enough that the Russian text is generally retranslated into English, as in the graphics here) depicting bells that mark the entire life cycle of an individual. The composer sometimes referred to it as his third symphony, and indeed it has that kind of synoptic ambition. It is written for a large orchestra, a choir, and three soloists, and all the legs of this triad are superbly realized here. Sample the third movement, which represents the tumult and misery of everyday life: conductor Mariss Jansons, leading the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, shows why the group is one of the absolute best in the world in this kind of large-ensemble repertory. It's gripping. The choir has a solidly consistent rich Germanic sound that contrasts nicely with the styles of the three soloists, all Russian. Everything falls into place here, and while there are fine Russian versions of the work, the electricity of the live performance here, very nicely recorded by Bavarian Radio's own engineers, puts this version in a class by itself. The late Symphonic Dances, Rachmaninov's final work, has a different and somewhat nostalgic tone; it was the composer's only work written entirely in the U.S. Its prominent saxophone part is especially evocative here. A top-notch Rachmaninov release all around. © TiVo
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Solo Piano - Released February 9, 2018 | Evidence

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Twenty years of Russian piano: that's what we're being offered by the young pianist Jean-Paul Gasparian in his first - much-remarked-upon and very remarkable - discographic work. Gasparian starts in 1897 with Scriabin's Second Sonata (also known as the Sonata Fantasy), still strongly redolent of Chopin, but already showing a few of those harmonic equivocations which were so dear to the mystical composer). And then another Second Sonata, this one by Prokofiev in 1912 - with the "motoric", wild aspect very much to the fore. The pianist has made the very wise decision not to overdo the score's brutality, and carefully avoids drowning the work in noisome pedal effects. In the same year, 1912, Scriabin wrote his Three Études Op. 65 in the style of his late maturity, which shines through on Poem of Ecstasy: here again, the soloist opts for transparency, allowing the listener to really follow the harmonic and thematic content - if we can really give the name "themes" to these snatched vignettes, these stitched-together scraps, these ferocious sallies which sound like calls to musical revolt. The album opens with nine Études-tableaux Op. 39 by Rachmaninov, written in 1917, which mix the technical side of the étude with evocative art; deliberately imprecise, the composer never prescribes a programme, providing every listener and pianist with a blank canvas to fill as they see fit. To be sure, the "Isle of the Dead" element breaks out most fully in the second étude, in particular with the deathlessly evocative scraps of the Dies irae... In any case, let us welcome Jean-Paul Gasparian to the great European stage, after his short-notice stint as a stand-in for Zacharias in Germany, and whose career is unfolding with speed and confidence. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released October 27, 2014 | ARTALINNA

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
Latvian pianist Vestard Shimkus takes us on a journey to the core of Rachmaninoff’s music both at its most brilliant and secretive. From the famous Piano Sonata No. 2 – in its original version – to the more uncommon Variations of a Theme of Chopin, to three of the most extraordinary Preludes of Opus 32, Shimkus reveals a clear and powerful style with a strong lyrical side. A truly astounding, mind-blowing album and a musician with exceptional eloquence. © Artalinna/Qobuz
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Trios - Released May 3, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Rachmaninoff's output of chamber music is small but all the more precious for that. Two absolute gems bear witness to the fact: these ‘elegiac trios’, which were produced by a young composer still indisputably under the influence of Tchaikovsky. But Rachmaninoff’s personality is already fully present, reaching heights of emotion and expressiveness. The pieces by Suk and Grieg add a further touch of character to the picture, which is painted with an exceptionally rich palette: the artistry of the phenomenal Trio Wanderer! © harmonia mundi
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Symphonic Music - Released April 2, 2013 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
This recording of Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44, and Symphonic Dances, Op. 45, is notable in the history of American classical music over and above its specifically musical qualities, for it marks the phoenix-like revival of an orchestra given up for dead. As the finances of America's hardest-hit city declined during the 2007-2010 recession, the orchestra suffered a crippling strike and general gloom about its future. Due not least to the leadership of music director Leonard Slatkin, the organization has rebounded and launched a modest recording program. What's perhaps most exciting about that is the reentry of Detroit's Orchestra Hall, fabled for the recordings made by conductor Paul Paray for the Mercury label's Living Presence series, into the catalog. It is an exceptional 1920s space, modest in size and warm in sound, in all ways closer to what Rachmaninov would have imagined for his music than the modernist sarcophagi with which so many such halls have been replaced. You even get a picture of the hall wedged into Naxos' unvarying design. Slatkin has talked in the past about how he adapts his Rachmaninov performances to this space, and he does so again here. The more garish aspects of the Symphonic Dances, with its Dies irae quotation morphing into a Russian Alleluia, and the percussion parts generally, are kept under control, while the symphony's glorious melodies, the last stand of the Romantic era in 1936, are allowed to flower luxuriantly. A crack Russian or British orchestra might be smoother in places, but there is a confident musicality here that is immensely appealing, and it has everything to do with a group of young players who realize that they are under the gun and have what it takes to succeed, under seasoned leadership. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 10, 2015 | EXTON

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Symphonic Music - Released September 3, 2013 | Naxos

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Classical - Released February 24, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
This group of Rachmaninov piano trios was released in celebration of the 70th birthday of Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer. One might have expected something that placed Kremer more in the spotlight than chamber music, and perhaps something devoted to the enormous influence he has had in reviving neglected Baltic and Eastern European repertory. On greater reflection, though, the decision is typical: Kremer has always been one who guides rather than one who takes the spotlight himself, and he has recorded a great deal of Russian music, often in fresh ways. So it is here with Rachmaninov. His two "trios élégiaques" are both youthful works; the Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9, was composed when he was 21, and the person being given the elegy was the late Tchaikovsky, whose own piano trio also had a set of variations for its central movement. The trios give priority not to the violin, but to the piano, and for chamber music partners Kremer chooses a mix of his own generation -- cellist Giedré Dirvanauskaité -- and the new one, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov. It's an effective constellation overall, with Trifonov getting the virtuoso parts and the two older players putting in commentary. This isn't top-drawer Rachmaninov (the Trio No. 2 is a bit sprawling), but the group captures its mood of bravado and interiority. Another bonus is the rarely heard Preghiera, the slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, arranged for piano trio by none other than Fritz Kreisler. Sample this, for it introduces the fresh balances that are the distinctive feature of this recording. Deutsche Grammophon's sound, from the wooden and gentle Trifolion hall in Echternach, Luxembourg, is idiomatic to the music and exceptionally pleasant. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 10, 2020 | MUSO

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During the Queen Elisabeth Competition 2016, a young Italian pianist aged 19 garnered a lot of attention. Alberto Ferro, already a laureate of many prizes, won the Audience Prize before winning one year later First Prize, both analytical and sensitive, served by faultless technique, this is what was so promising and it was confirmed with his first recording, devoted by the young Sicilian to Rachmaninov, one of his favourite composers. The Études-Tableaux Op. 33 were composed in 1910 in Rachmaninov’s tranquil country retreat; the others from Op. 39 date from 1916/17 and were the last pieces he wrote in Moscow, shortly before his American exile. At the time Rachmaninov was already the composer of a consequential catalogue for solo piano; the writing for ‘his’ instrument had thus attained a very high level of sophistication and subtlety adding to an incomparable understanding of the instrument’s powers of expression. The designation ‘Étude-Tableau’ is Rachmaninov’s own; close to the formal level of Chopin’s Ballades, they allow poetic interpretation even though they are entirely constructed from musical and technical ideas. The Russian master let slip very few indications concerning the precise extra-musical links that might have been at the origin of his works. He did reveal his precise sources of inspiration in letters to Respighi who orchestrated five of his miniatures; however, for the other, Rachmaninov never provided the slightest context, leaving it to the listener to work on his imagination! The virtuosity required for these albums is far from being an end in itself, it being rather the means of expression for the feelings. These two albums are marked by the dazzling liveliness of this music: at times virile and imperious, at times subtle and discreet, yet always at the service of an astonishingly broad palette of emotions. © muso
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Classical - Released October 21, 2016 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released January 1, 1976 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio