Shostakovich: Piano Concertos – No 1 in C minor, Op 35; No 2 in F major, Op 102; String Quartet No 8 in C minor, Op 110 (arr Giltburg for piano)

Reviewed on Wed 22 Mar, 2017

Of the two piano concertos, the First, with trumpet and string orchestra, offers a fund of ideas, from intense lyricism to comic chase music, quick-change music here given a volatile and spiky outing.

Although one may raise an eyebrow that it has been done at all, Boris Giltburg’s transcription of Shostakovich’s desolate and searing Eighth String Quartet comes off well, the music’s numbness and rage conveyed convincingly from the hands of the arranger himself, save that the faster movements are perhaps less four-part, sparer, than ideal and not so well sustained as by stringed instruments. Giltburg has also arranged the third-movement Waltz of Quartet No 2, a clandestine, then erupting, affair. Of the two piano concertos, the First, with trumpet and string orchestra, offers a fund of ideas, from intense lyricism to comic chase music, quick-change music here given a volatile and spiky outing, Rhys Owens the nimble trumpeter and Vasily Petrenko relishing the parodistic elements, Liverpool strings excelling. Giltburg also aims his sympathy and virtuosity at the light-hearted and bittersweet Second Concerto, music of toyshop delight and (in the slow movement) ravishing and eloquent melody.
–Colin Anderson