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Customer Review

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 November 2012
These are outstanding, inspired performances of the challenging, emotional Sergei Prokofiev (so-called) "War Sonatas" by the multiple award-winning Russian piano virtuoso Boris Giltburg. Prokofiev's vivid expositions illuminate the vicissitudes of war as it affected Europe and more specifically the Russian country and people during World War II, prior to and during Hitler's German invasion of Russia. Prokofiev and other important persons were even relocated twice by the government to safe havens, as he was finishing these sonatas, originally conceptualized in 1939, and other famous works under the cloud of war. These works captivated and were premiered by two of the greatest pianists of the 20th Century: Sviatoslav Richter, who did the first two sonatas, and the third by Emil Gilels. Sometimes militaristic and aggressive, sometimes gentle and reflective, but always virtuosic, Giltburg masterfully brings out the best of Piano Sonata No. 6 in A major, Opus 82 which sets the stage in the Allegro moderato movement with marching cadences, war sequences with "col pugno" elements (striking the keys with a fist) like exploding bombs and ringing arpeggios like firing weapons, giving way to the Allegretto movement which has a beautiful theme fragmented using staccato. Piano Sonata No. 7 in B♭major, Op. 83 has Giltburg giving a glorious account of the rapid tempo and arpeggios of the Vivace movement with its war references and periods of calm, with allusions tied back to the Sonata No. 6 military theme. Likewise for the triple notational Allegro inquieto - Poco meno - Andantino movement. Giltburg's performance of Piano Sonata No. 8 Piano in B♭major, Op. 84, dedicated to Prokofiev's future wife, Mira Mendelson, begins gently & beautifully in the "Andante dolce", and alternates between turbulence & intensity, and beauty. There is great beauty in the theme song of the lovely prelude-like Andante sognando movement. The famed virtuosic Vivace - Allegro ben marcato - Andantino - Vivace, come prima movement returns to the rolling martial themes, melancholy, with periods of gentle reflection vividly brought to life by Giltburg's remarkable pianistic prowess. Outstanding performances by Boris Giltburg of 3 major Sergei Prokofiev "War Sonatas", tied forever to the upheavals of Prokofiev's life and to the circumstances of World War II. My Highest Recommendation. Five AMAZING Stars! (10 tracks; Time: 72 minutes: 31 seconds)
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5.0 out of 5 stars
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