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Prokofiev's challenging "War Sonatas," the name given to the Piano Sonatas Nos. 6, 7, &8, are deftly and smoothly performed here by rising star Boris Giltburg. Giltburg, winner of the Pinan Salzman Prize, Santander Competition, and Rubenstein Competition, is a formidable talent who has been described as "old-school but magical and quite ravishing." He also been famously compared to past masters like Richter and Rachmaninov.
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Whatever the reasons, Giltburg offers a musical feast of great piano playing, and if you love these works, do hear this wonderful disc. You may well even prefer it to the Richter classic renditions.
He seems to have it all - leading man good looks, extraordinary facility in rapid passagework, and an intuitive poetic sense of line. Here he performs deeply moving accounts of Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas 6, 7, 8 - the so-called War Sonatas. The focal sonata of Prokofiev's wartime triptych is the Seventh, completed in 1942, a year after the Soviet Union entered the conflict. But images of war, its destructive power and the feelings of apprehension and introspect
As one critic praises, Giltburg plays with `terrific panache and personality, digging deep into the fabric of the music to illuminate its emotional content and harnessing an authoritative bravura to underline the savagery and nervy energy that the scores often convey. He has the confidence and facility of technique to tackle some movements at intrepid speed: the inexorable propulsion of the second movement of the Sixth Sonata is taken at a true allegretto rather than the andante that its textural complexities sometimes impose, and the finale of the Seventh Sonata starts -- and moreover maintains -- a terrifying impetus in response to Prokofiev's precipitato marking. If you can do it at this speed, while still ensuring that all the cross-keyboard leaps and offbeat accents are firmly in place, why not? But this is only part of Giltburg's skill in these sonatas, for he also has the measure of Prokofiev's dark-hued, haunted melody and the details of dissonance that can shatter an ostensible idyll. These are powerful, intuitive performances, executed with stylistic understanding and arresting presence.'
There is a grace in Giltburg's laying that echoes the full symphonic ballet scores of Prokofiev, as though he is able to transport these tight sonatas into a much more grand form that simply keyboard presentations. There is sorcery here but there is also dreamy magic that makes his interpretations soar. Repeated listenings only reinforce the substantial artistry of this gifted pianist. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, June 13
Sound is absolutely first-rate and this helps make this a stunning listening experience.