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An Epic Narrative: Boris Giltburg plays Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 3

Named the Mount Everest of piano concertos, Rachmaninoff’s third has enjoyed an increasing popularity among performers, piano competition contestants and in concert halls during the last twenty years. Also among recording labels where the long list of recordings now is expanded by contributions by a younger generation of top artists.

Since Horowitz’s recordings of the concerto set a standard for its overall interpretational conception, many claim that renditions today overlook Rachmaninoff’s original intentions which we all can listen to in his own recordings from 1935 and 1940. Not least, the composer’s tempi and ideas on dramatic culminations.

A Touching Attitude

The story tells that Gustav Mahler, who conducted the second performance of the concerto with Rachmaninoff himself in New York City, touched the composer’s heart straight away by devoting himself to the concerto until the complicated accompaniment had been practiced to the point of perfection, although he had already gone through a long rehearsal.

According to Mahler, every detail of the score was important which was an an attitude which was rare among conductors. Rachmaninoff found this very touching.

A Sensitive New Release

One of the latest Rach 3 releases – and our recommendation – is by the Queen Elisabeth Competition winner, pianist Boris Giltburg with Royal Scottich National Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Pietro on the Naxos label (2018).  As opposed to the strong formal structure of composition which the second concerto displays, the third is much more a “give and take” game which reminds us of the marvels of chamber music and with sharing motifs, melodies and sections between the movements. Thus, Giltburg’s reading is a sensitive and attending one, where the soloist shares material with the orchestra leaning on a strong communicative base rather than muscular bombasm. The lyrical passages are beautifully shaped and exquisitely articulated with the aid of the sonorous sound of the Fazioli grand used in this recording.

“… a narrative tapestry of such richness and variety that it seems to me to rival that of a great novel. The concerto’s length and scope allow it to explore a broad musical terrain, with many digressions and subplots woven into the main narrative.”
— Boris Giltburg on Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto

The album is coupled with the composer’s Corelli Variations Op. 42. Rachmaninoff himself had doubts about this composition and he often left out variations during his own performances according to the audiences’ reactions. However, it displays the ingenious composer’s handicraft in turning a simple baroque melody into a richly woven pattern of original ideas reflecting the composer’s compound compositional world. Arguably a study work as these variations were followed in a few years by another set of variations – the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43.

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Giltburg plays Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 3| Play album >> | Download CD cover >> |

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Sheet music to download and print

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto 3 Op. 30 in D Minor

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 3


The Final Countdown: Leeds International Piano Competition – Finals Start Tonight

In the new edition of the Leeds International Piano Competition we have now enjoyed the diversity of the ten Semi-Finalists. Just in “the middle of the battle” Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell had the chance to ask the competition’s Co-Artistic Director, Adam Gatehouse a few questions.

Patrick Jovell: The friendly ”piano festival” feeling is evident for the audience as well as for the contestants. Which are your impressions so far?

Adam Gatehouse: We could not be more delighted with the atmosphere of a friendly festival that is being created around the competition. Many different communities in Leeds have really become involved through playing the pianos on the Piano Trail, and visiting the World’s Smallest Concert Hall in the Shipping Container. There is already a much more inclusive feeling around the city regarding the Competition that is being held.

PJ: The offered Master-classes and lectures are something we usually don’t see at the most prominent piano competitions. How were these received by the participants and competition goers?

AG: Both competitors and competition audiences have responded very favourably to the masterclasses – these have been quite an attraction for the very keen members of the audience and many competitors have thrown themselves into it with huge enthusiasm. One competitor was even dancing during his masterclass!

PJ: You have connected the competition to the international world and auditions were earlier held in Berlin, New York and Singapore. Has this effected the width of participation?

AG: We had 27 countries represented among the 68 pianists chosen for the First Round. This was a fantastic breadth of representation from across the world and surely illustrates huge global reputation of the Leeds International Piano Competition. we know no boundaries!

PJ: The five finalists now face the momentum with the jury’s choice of a concerto with orchestra. What would you say is the most important quality to communicate as a contestant in this specific and crucial moment of the competition?

AG: I think the most important thing is to communicate how they feel in their souls about the music and to bring across to all the listeners their joy in making music with this wonderful orchestra. That is what it is all about isn’t it?

PJ: We will leave you to your busy schedule now, but we know that the Leeds Competition is not closing up when Mr. Lang Lang has given out the prizes. Which Leeds projects are coming up after the competition for us to keep our eyes open for?

AG: Leeds Piano Festival in March/April 2019 in Leeds and London, and then again in 2020. And of course there will be the many appearances worldwide of our winner(s) including Liverpool next week, Eindhoven in October, Bristol in November, and then in 2019 appearances with the Halle Orchestra, at Wigmore Hall and tours of Europe (Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and Denmark) and South Korea in 2019.

The Final Round

After the semifinals the Leeds International Piano Competition has now announced the five finalists who will play concertos chosen by the jury as follows:

Final 1: Friday 14 September

7.00 pm (GMT): Aljoša Jurinić (Croatia)
Mozart – Concerto in C minor K491

7.50 pm: Anna Geniushene (Russia)
Prokofiev – Concerto No. 3 in C major Op.26

9.00 pm: Mario Häring (Germany)
Beethoven – Concerto No. 1 in C major Op. 15

Final 2: Saturday 15 September

7.00 pm: Xinyuan Wang (China)
Schumann – Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54

7.50 pm: Eric Lu (USA)
Beethoven – Concerto No. 4 in G major Op.58

9.00 pm: Results and Presentations

Follow the live stream at leedspiano2018.medici.tv

Read more about the Leeds Piano Competition 2018


Another International Chopin Competition — on Period Instruments

On the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining of independence, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute organizes the first International Chopin Competition on period instruments in Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. Subsequent editions will follow every five years.

The event started on 2 September, and thirty pianists aged 18 to 34 have played in the first round. They are playing on pianos from the collections of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (Erards, Pleyels, and Broadwoods from the mid 19th century), as well as originals and copies of period instruments brought in by European restorers and collectors.

The aim of the organizers is to revive the authentic sound of Chopin, by popularizing performance on period instruments. Through collaborations with Polish Television, the event is being streamed in high quality. Each performance is also available to watch afterward, providing an opportunity for music lovers all over the world to follow the competition in its entirety.

Competition Schedule

2-6 September: Stage I – recitals
8-10 September: Stage II – recitals
12-13 September: Final – concerto performances
14 September: Prize-Winners Concert
Detailed schedule >>

Follow the live stream on YouTube.

Read more at www.iccpi.pl

More Recommended Weekend Listening:

LIVE NOW: The Leeds International Piano Competition:
Read more:
Follow The Leeds International Piano Competition Online


Follow The Leeds International Piano Competition Online

Medici.tv’s extensive coverage of The Leeds International Piano Competition 2018, relaying the full Competition experience including performances from every round to more than 180 countries, can be followed at leedspiano2018.medici.tv.

Audiences can enjoy the First Round performances of the 24 competitors who were selected from among 68 First Round pianists to go through to the next round in Leeds in September 2018. Their progress can then be followed through 8 days of free live webcasts of the final rounds in Leeds between 6 to 15 September. All performances will also be available on demand for three years.


April 3-12: First round
September 6-8: Second round
September 9-11: Semi-finals
September 14-15 Finals

Watch the competition archive and live stream here:

‘The Leeds’ and medici.tv will work together to deliver a rich digital experience on a dedicated new platform. As well as viewing every Competition performance for free, global audiences will also be able to experience the full atmosphere of the Competition through extensive behind-the-scenes coverage, interviews with the competitors and coverage of other events surrounding the Competition. Broadcaster Petroc Trelawny presents the live webcasts of the whole Competition and is joined by pianists Lucy Parham and former Leeds prize winner Noriko Ogawa for the Semis and Finals.

The new partnership will significantly extend the global reach of the Competition and bring the atmosphere and music-making of this most prestigious event to music lovers in more than 180 countries. It has been made possible thanks to the University of Leeds, a long-standing partner of The Leeds, which has extended its financial support to ensure that international audiences can experience everything that Competition has to offer.

In a major new development for both The Leeds and medici.tv, the global audience will be invited to vote online for the medici.tv Audience Award. This is the first time that worldwide audiences will be able to have a say at The Leeds. The international medici.tv vote will be verified and added to the vote from inside Leeds Town Hall and announced as part of the prize presentation which follows the second day of the Finals on Saturday 15 September. The winner of the inaugural medici.tv Audience Award will have a performance broadcast on medici.tv within the next three years.

Music communities around the world can also come together to follow news, blogs and interact on the newly-created medici.tv platform and via the hashtag #LeedsPiano on social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

Global streaming is one of the key innovations that are rejuvenating The Leeds under the artistic leadership of Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse, and is a key pillar of their new vision for the much enhanced Competition.

Held once every three years, The Leeds is one of the world’s foremost music competitions. Since the first Competition in 1963, it has attracted the world’s finest young pianists, drawn by the opportunities offered by the outstanding prize package, the challenge of demanding repertoire, a stellar jury – and a warm welcome from the City of Leeds. The roll call of eminent past winners and finalists includes many of the world’s best-known pianists. The Competition’s 1972 winner Murray Perahia became Patron in June 2017. Lang Lang is Global Ambassador and Dame Fanny Waterman was appointed Life President and Founder Director Emeritus in 2015.

Paul Lewis, co-Artistic Director of The Leeds, says:
“The Leeds has introduced some outstanding pianists to the world over the past half century. Now, through the exceptional quality and reach of medici.tv’s webcasts, we can share the extraordinary music-making of the Competition in real time and to more people than ever before.”

Adam Gatehouse, co-Artistic Director of The Leeds, added:
“We are thrilled to be working with medici.tv and our Senior Partner the University of Leeds to hugely extend the Competition’s global reach and to share the Competition and the great city of Leeds with such diverse audiences in a new and exciting way. It is wonderful to be able to unite the global audience in voting to give one of our five Finalists the medici.tv Audience Award.”

Hervé Boissière, Founder & Managing Director of medici.tv:
“The Leeds has a long history of excellence and the Competition’s world-class laureates have appeared regularly on medici.tv over the past ten years. We’re thrilled to be able to help introduce the next generation of piano stars to music lovers around the globe and particularly excited to give fans worldwide the opportunity to engage with the Competition directly through the medici.tv Audience Award.”


International Piano – July/August 2018 Issue

A new issue of the magazine International Piano is out!

  • Mark Viner: dazzling but deep
  • Scandalous spirit: maverick virtuoso Henry Charles Litolff
  • French romantics: forgotten piano masterpieces from the 19th century
  • Jazz advance: Cecil Taylor’s groundbreaking dirty blues


Piano Street Gold members have instant online access to the digital version of the magazine.
For print subscription, visit rhinegold.co.uk


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