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.
"Ensemble 415 is a chamber ensemble devoted largely to the performance of Baroque music on period instruments. The numerical reference in the group's name derives from the pitch used for tuning instruments in the Baroque era. In performing chamber music, Ensemble 415 consists of just a few players, but for larger compositions, the number expands to a minimum of 13 and can reach up to as high as 40 performers. The ensemble's repertory has been broad over the years, taking in many Baroque standards by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel, as well as lesser known fare by Muffat and others…"
Brahms' works for piano open and close his career as a composer. In his earliest sets of variations, especially those of Op. 9, the melody is of primary importance, and Brahms clings to it while freely changing the harmony. His later studies of Beethoven, however, led to his transformation of the melody into something new, adhering to the theme's basic phrase structure and harmonic pattern. As had Bach in his "Goldberg" Variations and Beethoven in the "Diabelli" Variations, Brahms, in the Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Händel, Op. 24, constructed a sprawling masterwork ……..
Let me say straight away that the performance is extremely fine; indeed, such is its eloquence that I put aside the score and notepad and just listened for pleasure the first time round. – On Concerto No. 1 – Gramophone
This new version of Piano Concerto no. 2 from Stephen Kovacevich and the LSO under Sir Cohn Davis must be numbered among the very finest of recent years… The performance combines poetic feeling and intellectual strength in no small measure, and it is one to which I am sure I will want to returnGramophone
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer and pianist and is considered a leading composer in the romantic period. His best known pieces include his Academic Festival Overture and German Requiem.