Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4, Paganini Rhapsody – Boris Giltburg, Brussels Philharmonic, Vassily Sinaisky

May 23, 2023, 9:00 am

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Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto was composed while he was a student at the Moscow Conservatory, then fully reworked twice. It is hard to explain why it never achieved a higher level of popularity – it has all of the melodic beauty, passion, and brilliance found throughout the composer’s music. The Fourth Piano Concerto was much revised after harsh criticism at its premiere but it occupies a unique place in Rachmaninoff’s works, showing a progression from lush Romanticism towards the muscular transparency of his later compositions. The electrifying Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a concerto in all but name – the work’s sense of fun and demonic bravura has ensured its place among the most-loved and often performed works for piano and orchestra. Boris Giltburg’s previous Naxos recording of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto was an American Record Guide Critic’s Choice and called “compulsive listening” by BBC Music Magazine.