Festival International de Colmar / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2
“Zum Auftakt der Pianistenreihe spielt Boris Giltburg – ein feinsinniger Tastenzauberer. Dort, wo viele Pianisten mit höchster Vehemenz die Tasten bearbeiten, da scheint der in Moskau geborene Israeli sein Instrument zu streicheln. Doch trotz aller lyrischer Klangsinnigkeit ist seine Interpretation des Klavierkonzerts Nr. 2, c-Moll op. 18 von Rachmaninov voller Kraft und Fülle.”
"Opening the series of pianists was Boris Giltburg – a sensitive magician of the keyboard. The Moscow-born Israeli seemed to stroke the keys of his instrument where other pianists labour the keys with vehemence. And yet despite all his lyricism and subtle colourings, his interpretation of Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto was rich and powerful."
Pforzheimer Zeitung, July 2014
Queen Elizabeth Hall / Rachmaninov, Prokofiev & Ravel
“..For sheer brilliance, Boris Giltburg’s recital of Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Ravel was the outstanding event of the season: this young Russian has remarkable range and a sublimely assured artistry”
International Piano, March 2014
“This was world class playing that stands comparison with the very greatest Prokofiev interpreters….This (Ravel) was an excellent performance of one of the great show pieces of the repertoire.”
Seen and Heard International, November 2013
Seattle Symphony Orchestra / Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.2
“Giltburg made a powerful impression in the thundering octave and scalar passages, with great clarity of fingerwork, and a smoothly limpid sound in the more lyrical sections….The well-deserved ovation for Giltburg went on for so long that the pianist presented an encore: Rachmaninoff’s glittering transcription of Fritz Kreisler’s violin tune, “Liebesleid” (“Love’s Sorrow”).”
Seattle Times, January 2014
Festspielhaus Bregenz / Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3
“…ein Solist, der das Publikum spätestens bei der brillant gemeisterten Kadenz des 1. Satzes für sich eingenommen hat. Die extreme Langsamkeit, die Anschlagskultur, mit der er das zentrale Largo anstimmt und den Zuhörern das Atmen vergessen macht, erinnert an Größen wie Glenn Gould oder den in Bregenz lange präsent gewesenen Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli. Auch die Art, wie Giltburg sich nicht nur körperlich ins Klavier, sondern auch geistig in Beethoven versenkt.”
“… a soloist whom the public had taken to their hearts already by the time of the brilliantly mastered cadenza of the opening movement. The extremely slow tempo, and the art of touch which he brought to the central Largo, in which the audience almost forgot to breathe, was reminiscent of Glenn Gould or Arturo Benedetti-Michaelangeli (who of course was frequently in Bregenz) – also the way in which Giltburg immerses himself in Beethoven body and soul.”
Vorarlberger Nachrichten, November 2013
“..Beethovens drittes Klavier-konzert hört man nur ganz selten so spannend und intelligent gespielt. Dieser junger Pianist uberzeugt durch traumhaft schonen Klang in Verbindung mit einem ungemein differenzierten Anschlag, der es ihm erlaubt, musikalische Linien muhelos bis ins kleinste Details nachzuzeichnen. Dazu eine absolut souverane Technik, die er vor allem in den beiden Zugaben von Liszt und Schumann ausspielen konnte.”
“…one seldom hears Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto played with such intelligence and such excitement. His heavenly beauty of tone, allied to an incredibly varied range of attack, allows him to sketch effortlessly the musical lines down to the last detail.”
Das Neue, November 2013
Musikverein, Vienna / Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3
“Dieser noch nicht 30-jährige Pianist zeigt ein Potential, das ihn in die Reihen der großenBeethoven-Interpreten bringen kann. Voll jugendlicher Energie stürzt er sich fröhlich ins Geschehen jener Komposition, die nichts mehr mit Mozart oder Haydn zu tun hat und einen entscheidenden Schritt in der Entwicklung hin zu Chopin und Brahms darstellt ? und genau das stellt Giltburg heraus. Der künstlerische Reifungsprozeß wird ihm den letzten Feinschliff nicht verwehren.”
“This pianist, not yet 30, has the potential to join the ranks of the greatest Beethoven interpreters. Full of youthful energy, he launches himself joyfully into the thick of this music which has already moved beyond Mozart or Haydn and taken a decisive step towards Chopin and Brahms – which is precisely how Giltburg characterises it. His growth towards artistic maturity will not dim his refinement.”
European Press Agency, November 2013
St Niklaas, Belgium / Rachmaninov, Prokofiev & Ravel
"[L]es dix préludes de l’Opus 23 furent abordés par leur versant spirituel, intérieur : tempos étonnamment lents, traitement savant des harmoniques, dynamique extralarge, puissance et couleurs symphoniques - avec quelques clairières inondées de lumière -, le tout balancé entre la structuration rythmique et l’effusion hymnique, dans une sorte d’immobilité rendue possible par un contrôle exceptionnel du clavier.
L’approche fut tout autre dans la Sonate n°8 de Prokofiev (troisième "sonate de guerre"), où Giltburg se révéla plein d’allant, romantique dans l’introduction "Andante dolce" du premier mouvement, ardent et affirmatif dans la suite, "allegro", d’une infinie délicatesse dans le deuxième mouvement "Andante sognando" et, à nouveau, tellurique pour le vivace final. Même qualités de puissance, d’énergie et d’imagination, humour noir compris, dans la Valse de Ravel, notant, dans ce déferlement d’accords, d’octaves et d’arpèges diaboliques, une perfection technique confondante…"
"The ten preludes Op. 23 were performed on a spiritual, intimate side: surprisingly low tempi, intelligent display of the harmonies, tremendous range of dynamics, power and symphonic colours – with enlightened clearings - split between rhythmical structuration and “anthem-like effusion”; entitled by an exceptional keyboard mastery.
His rendition of Prokofiev Sonata No.8 was completely different, Giltburg showed energy and romance in the introduction “Andante dolce” of the first movement, ardent and vindictive in the following “Allegro”, refined in the second movement “Andante sognando” and, again, telluric in the Vivace final. Same qualities: power, energy and imagination, including black humour in Ravel La Valse, proving, amongst those cascades of notes, octaves and arpeggios, a staggering technical perfection…"
La Libre Belgique, November 2013
Romantic Sonatas / Rachmaninov, Grieg & Liszt
“Giltburg finds the perfect balance of passion and control (Liszt B minor sonata). That deserves respect!”
Fonoforum, Dec 2013
“I was struck by the space and the sense Boris Giltburg finds in this titan…The passages of melancholy introspection bathe in a gentle air, and the climaxes – especially the bell ringing clamour at the heart of the first movement – never disappoint…There’s no denying the fullness and resonant bass register of Giltburg’s pianism as recorded in Andrew Keener’s splendid production. Virtuosity never swamps clarity of argument, and the flyaway transcendentals gild especially the reprise in the opening Allegro moderato of Grieg’s early Sonata..The ultimate challenge of Liszt’s hell and heaven gets perhaps the finest performance of all, showing us the structure and effortlessly paining the poignancy and pride of redemption. With Giltburg, Yevgeny Sudbin and Denis Kozhukhin leading the way, we’re already in a new golden age of grand pianism, with hopefully many years of amazement ahead.”
BBC Music Magazine, October 2013
“Once again he shows himself the possessor of a massive and engulfing technique, this time supporting interpretations that glow with warmth and poetic commitment…certainly few performances could show such musical engagement, making even the weaker third and fourth movements sprint vividly to life. ..at the same time, Giltburg is a pianist born for Rachmaninov’s emotional largesse, and here in particular his rubato is gloriously sympathetic to the composer’s towering rhetoric. Again, in the Liszt Sonata, the playing is of such an unfaltering command that it allows for the finest expressive power. Giltburg’s fingerwork and the even strength of his octaves are things to marvel at but what makes the playing so special is the seriousness of the approach. Hear him in the central Andante and in the valedictory close, or in the steady rather than frantic fugue commencing the final section, and you may well wonder when you last heard a performance as dignified or subtly poetic. Finely recorded, this is a record for everyone’s delectation and I can scarcely wait to hear Giltburg in other works from his already formidable repertoire.”
Gramophone, October 2013
“His virtuosity is beyond question, but it is what he does with it that makes such a difference. There is emotional power here, together with apt tonal weight, but there is also a sensitive inwardness that, in all three movements, reveals subtle expressive facets of the sonata that so often whizz by unnoticed.
This performance genuinely makes you hear the music in a new light, just as his gifts of litheness, tenderness and grandeur open up beautifully fresh perspectives in the Grieg. His command of the Liszt language is equally compelling, its broad passionate sweep embracing brooding intimacy and bravura with a rich range of inflection. All in all, a recital not to be missed.”
Daily Telegraph, October 2013
Orquesta Sinfónica de Córdoba / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2
Teatro Juan de Vera
“…la función internacional más importante del año, la llegada a Corrientes del prestigioso pianista Boris Giltburg, quien brindó un inolvidable concierto en el teatro Juan de Vera. Este joven pianista ruso es comparado con Sviatoslav Richter y Arthur Rubinstein, por destacados críticos de la música clásica.”
“…the most important event of the year, the appearance at Corrientes of the prestigious pianist Boris Giltburg, who played an unforgettable concert in the Teatro Juan de Vera. This young Russian pianist is compared to Sviatoslav Richter and Arthur Rubinstein by prominent critics of classical music. "
Diaria Epoca, September 2013
Gower Recital / Schumann, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Liszt
“Giltburg, fresh from his victory at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, changed his programme at the last minute into one heroic enough almost to have taken the roof off Gowerton’s sturdy Victorian church. Carnaval was beautifully delicate, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov suitably stormy, and Liszt’s B minor sonata showed his full virtuosic and musical range.”
Seen and Heard International, August 2013
Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition Final 2013 (Winner)
“La maîtrise technique est fabuleuse, mais on l’oublie aussitôt tant le discours est plus fabuleux encore. Après une cadence qui donne déjà des cascades de frisson, on tombe en extase avec la reprise du thème initial, idéalement retenue et susurrée. Bouleversée, la salle en a les larmes aux yeux…”
"His mastery of technique was fabulous, but this was soon forgotten in the mastery of his even more fabulous interpretation. After a cadenza which already gave us delicious shivers of pleasure, we fell into ecstasies when the opening theme returned, ideally restrained and shushed. The audience was overwhelmed and we all had tears in our eyes."
La Libre Belgique, May 2013
“Einen ganz außergewöhnlichen Konzertabend…. Von der ersten Note an schafft er es, die Besucher im Palais des Beaux Arts in seinen Bann zu ziehen. Konzentriert und einfühlsam gestaltete er zunächst die Beethoven-Sonate Nr. 27.Bisher war es noch keinem der Finalisten gelungen, mit solch einem dynamischen Feingefühl Akzente zu setzen, mit kleinen rhythmischen Entwicklungen und Rubati Spannung zu erzeugen. Eine hervorragende Interpretation.”
"An exceptional concert…From the very first note he managed to cast a spell over the audience at the Bozar. His Beethoven Sonata No.27 was focused and full of feeling.
None of the finalists until then had managed to bring out the emphases with such a subtle feeling for the dynamic shading, rhythmic development and the dramatic tensions of the rubato passages. An outstanding interpretation."
Bayerische Rundfunk, May 2013
"(Beethoven) Son toucher hors pair interpelle dès les premières notes. Il offre un jeu très diversifié, narratif et intéressant. La sonate est bien construite, colorée et contrastée. Chaque note est bien dosée et l’ensemble et équilibré. La musique respire et avance simplement, il impose sa personnalité atypique et attachante. (Compulsory contemporary work) Sa lecture est passionnante … Il impose sa vision et l’alliage avec la sonorité de l’orchestre frôle la perfection.
(Rachmaninov 3) Tout y est : technique impeccable, sens du phrasé, poésie touchante, éclats bien dosés, pianos veloutés. Giltburg fait preuve également d’un sens aigu du théâtre dans le bon sens du terme. Par un silence surprenant et vertigineux il reprend l’auditoire au bout de ses doigts et les tient en haleine jusqu’à l’ovation à la fin de sa prestation."
"His incomparable touch is evident from the very first notes. His playing is very diverse, interesting and full of narrative. The Beethoven sonata is well constructed, with plenty of contrast and colouring. Each note is well-judged in the balance of the whole. The music breathes and proceeds simply, he imposes his singular and winning personality on the music. He gave a passionate reading of (the compulsory contemporary work) ...imposing his vision, and touching perfection in the way he married his sounds to those of the orchestra.
In the Rachmaninov 3 everything was there – impeccable technique, sense of phrasing, touching poetry, well-judged climaxes, velvety pianissimi. Giltburg showed an acute sense of theatre in the best sense of the word. In a surprising and dizzying silence he held the audience in the palm of his hand and kept them in thrall until the final ovation."Prokofiev War Sonatas (Orchid Classics)
Crescendo, June 2013
“This is an absolutely extraordinary CD of really outstanding playing…Giltburg is on fire:
Amazing layering of sound – he’s such a good pianist it sounds like an orchestra. It’s not all about virtuosity: you’ve got those fierce explosions and dexterity of course but so much more – it’s really about musical argument and its greatest strength is that it’s symphonic playing – he’s laying it out as an exploration of ideas rather than piano sound to its own end.
In the slow movement [of the seventh sonata] he really does explore the interior side to the sonatas…it’s a big performance with wonderful soft playing and wonderful control of sonorities at the low as well as the high dynamic level.
With Giltburg, he’s a real pianist with real bravura…you just have to hear what he’s going to do next.”
BBC Radio 3 CD Review, March 2013
“The final movement (of No.8) is a tour de force of piano writing that encompasses the entire range of the modern piano. Giltburg’s quick tempo and rhythmic drive make this one of the most exciting performances I’ve heard in a long time.
His range of expression, technical security, and interpretive prowess are all fully evident here. His musical insight and writing skills are shown in his booklet notes. The recorded sound is top-notch.”
American Record Guide, March 2013
“If you want a brilliant modern version then go for the young Boris Giltburg. He plays with power and clarity in the sixth and seventh sonatas, but he also has a lyrical finesse that particularly comes into its own in the eighth sonata. Definitely an artist with great promise.”Dagens Nyheter
, five stars, December 2012
“Boris Giltburg ist mit seiner Einspielung der drei Prokofjew Kriegs-Sonaten ein großer Wurf gelungen. Technisch erstaunlich mühelos, kraftvoll und prägnant, flexibel und stilsicher in allen Ausdrucksfragen..”
“Giltburg’s interpretation of the Prokofiev War Sonatas is quite a coup. His technique is astonishingly effortless and his performance has great power, depth of interpretation, flexibility and stylistic assurance …”
WDR Radio Review, November 2012
“Boris Giltburg brings pungency, panache and personality to Prokofiev’s three ‘War’ Sonatas, harnessing authoritative bravura to underline the music’s nervous energy and also penetrating deep into the emotional substance of the lyicism’s apprenhension and unease. These are strong, shrewd performances, played with stylistic understanding and compelling presence.”
Gramophone (Christmas Edition), Critic’s Choice, December 2012
“Putting my head above a parapet, I have to say that these performances of Prokofiev’s three ‘War’ Sonatas (for Sviatoslav Richter music that evokes ‘a world without reason or equilibrium’) eclipse all others on record even those tirelessly and justifiably celebrated performances by Richter and Gilels.
Boris Giltburg is a young Russian but Israeli-based pianist whose blistering, all-inclusive technique allows him to range from the merest whisper (try the tolling funeral bells at the close of the Seventh Sonata’s central Andante caloroso) to an elemental uproar that never degenerates into coarseness or mere violence. The Sixth Sonata’s opening call to arms could hardly be more bellicose or articulate and the stress is very much on an uncompromising bleakness where everything is held in an iron grip.
There may be little time for passing whimsy in the same sonata’s Allegretto, yet listening to Giltburg in the slow movements of all three Sonatas is to hear a pianist as acutely sensitive to voicing and texture as he is heaven-storming. And here, too, is a flawless sense of Prokofiev’s mockery of an accessible style dear to the blinkered Russian authorities of his time.
Tempi are on the wild side (Giltburg writes his own defence of his pace in the Precipitato 7/8 drumbeat finale of Sonata No 7, a far cry from Horowitz’s and Richter’s more measured view). Everything coheres in the astral wanderings of the Eighth Sonata’s first movement and when you hear Giltburg in the final pages of both this movement and the finale, with its suggestion of the last trump, you can only discard pen and paper and listen in awe and disbelief. The recordings are excellent and there is an illuminating essay by the pianist himself, where he writes of ‘war… in your face, marching towards you with dead eyes and it is not pleasant.”
Gramophone, Editor’s Choice, October 2012
“These sonatas are forever linked with two of the great 20th-century Russian pianists, Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels, but the young Moscow-born Boris Giltburg brings them right up to date with playing of terrific panache and personality, digging deep into the fabric of the music to illuminate its emotional content and harnessing an authoritative bravura to underline the savagery and nervy energy that the scores often convey. He has the confidence and facility of technique to tackle some movements at intrepid speed: the inexorable propulsion of the second movement of the Sixth Sonata is taken at a true allegretto rather than the andante that its textural complexities sometimes impose, and the finale of the Seventh Sonata starts — and moreover maintains — a terrifying impetus in response to Prokofiev’s precipitato marking. If you can do it at this speed, while still ensuring that all the cross-keyboard leaps and offbeat accents are firmly in place, why not?
But this is only part of Giltburg’s skill in these sonatas, for he also has the measure of Prokofiev’s dark-hued, haunted melody and the details of dissonance that can shatter an ostensible idyll. These are powerful, intuitive performances, executed with stylistic understanding and arresting presence.”
Daily Telegraph, five stars, August 2012
“Giltburg presents utterly compelling performances of each one of these masterpieces…I don't know if I've heard a better 8th: Giltburg catches all the music's depth, its weird sound world, its hushed sadness, and its ominous bursts of energy. His phrasing of that dark, quiet second theme in the first movement is haunting and utterly hypnotic. This is a performance to match or surpass any by Richter, Gilels, Glemser or anyone. The 6th may be equaled by Richter, Glemser, Cliburn and a few others, but Giltburg takes on a more kinetic and colorful manner than anyone I've heard, turning in a performance quite different and fully satisfying….Giltburg has a way in all the sonatas of infusing life into seemingly mundane phrases, phrases other pianists treat as reposeful or less significant. Indeed, he so often finds meaningful detail to bring out in the music that you seldom hear in other accounts…Giltburg is a major talent on the scene, and I predict he will go far.”
Classical.net, December 2012
“... großer Virtuosität und wunderbaren Klangfärbungen,......eine Darbietung voller Intensität, ein Klavierkonzert, das im Spannungsfeld von gefühlvollen Harmonien und wilden Tastenritten sinnliche Akzente setzt.”
“... great virtuosity and wonderful colours… this was a performance full of intensity, lending sensual emphasis to a palette of evocative harmonies and stormy fingerwork.”
Baden Online, November 2012
Oper Graz / Ravel & Gershwin
“The conductor and the brilliant soloist worked as a team to bring out the ironic, distant tone of Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Together, they also underlined the jazz elements in the outer movements, and the blues feel in the opening movement of the Ravel. Giltburg and Boder pulled off the tightrope walk between cool, calculated intellectuality and concealed emotion in the Ravel; and the balance between lightening-speed rhythmical accuracy and casual swing in the Gershwin.”
Kleine Zeitung, September 2012
Krefeld Recital / Beethoven, Schumann & Ravel
“Vom ersten Ton an ist sein Spiel auch ein Ausdruckstanz an den Tasten… Schmetterlinge, Libellen und Ähnliches flatterten verspielt und tänzerisch durch die Lüfte… Bei Rachmaninovs Sonate Nr. 2 in b-moll schafft es der Pianist mit seinem eher zierlichen Körperbau sogar, ein solches Klanggewitter zu inszenieren, dass der Flügel wackelt.”
Westdeutsche Zeitung, May 2012
Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse / cond. Sokhiev / Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3
/ Replacing Denis Matsuev at one day’s notice on tour, May 2012:
Mannheim, Wiesbaden, Düsseldorf, Cologne
“Far from being simply a lion of the keyboard obsessed with technical perfection, he created filigree textures and let the terrific runs swirl over the keyboard, conjured up worlds of sound melting into one another, differentiated one tune from another with sensitivity, and swept us along with his thundering chords. The storm of applause was greeted by visible relief on the face of the artist at the end of this monumental concerto, and resulted in three encores, in which Giltburg once again proved his extraordinary pianistic powers (Rachmaninov and Schumann).”
Mannheimer Morgen, May 2012
“Giltburg’s interpretation in Wiesbaden was significantly more intimate (than Matsuev’s in Amsterdam), without anything being lost from his performance of this colossal peak of the piano repertoire. He, too, had every different nuance of articulation at his command, allowing him to draw contrasts between the character of each different theme.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 2012
“Boris Giltburg presented a phenomenally mature, gripping interpretation of the huge Rachmaninov concerto...Giltburg also offered a darkly reflective first movement, marked by precision of attack and clearly defined contours, and also brought to the extended slow movement a deep feeling for its elegaic, lyrical qualities. The Finale was particularly effective, thanks not just to the faster tempo but chiefly to Giltburg’s emphatic passagework and rhymthmic precision. Thanks to his excellent technique, he was able to maintain the intensity and excitement throughout the 45 minute work.”
Main-Spitze, May 2012
“Boris Giltburg surprised us all with highly differentiated, cleverly shaded playing, devoid of empty virtuosity. The delicate pianist unleashed astonishing strength in the 45 minute tour de force, plunging into the first endless cadenza with kinetic energy and whipping up a veritable maelstrom, and yet without ever forcing it. The Finale, too, was breathtaking, eliciting spontaneous “bravos” from the audience. And yet the most remarkable thing about Giltburg’s playing was the moments of dark melancholy, and his deeply thoughtful grasp of the work.”
Rheinische Post, May 2012
“a sensational Cologne debut for soloist Boris Giltburg....who showed a manual dexterity of the very highest quality, but even more importantly a sensitivity to sound production which allowed him to lend depth, substance and expression whatever the dynamic and whatever the tempo.”
Koelner Stadtanzeiger, May 2012
Wigmore Hall Recital / Prokofiev, Schumann & Rachmaninov
“Giltburg opened with all guns blazing, the Fazioli impressive in its clarity if unstinting in its volume. That said there was delicacy in the chromatic sleights of the first movement’s second subject, as there was in the Non allegro second, which followed without a break. The finale, also begun with barely a pause, was superbly executed, bold and triumphant, with the many and varied technical demands seemingly no obstacle to Giltburg, a pianist of redoubtable talent.
Classical Source, March 2012
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Rachmaninov
“He is part demon and part craftsman, but he is still all artist. For me it is like the very ghost of Rachmaninov has returned to the stage.”
The Brighton Magazine, February 2012
Danish Radio Orchestra / Dohnányi Variations on a Nursery Theme
“The 28-year-old Russian-Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg listened intently to the orchestra and let his fingers sculpt a warm, colourful tone from the concert hall's new, beautiful grand piano. He played around with the theme; suddenly it sounded like Brahms, and a moment later, he was the protagonist in a devilish waltz and a galloping fugue. The orchestra took Giltburg’s imaginative phrases and swirled them around in a close collaboration with the soloist. Giltburg’s encore was a fiery adaptation of Fritz Kreislers Liebesleid.”
KPN.dk, March 2012
“Dohnányi’s little piano concerto with variations… these changing scenes were brilliantly illustrated by the Russian-Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg in dialogue with especially unusually enthusiastic woodwinds.
Giltburg’s Russian background allowed himself to give an elegant and virtuosic encore, rarely heard: Rachmaninov’s arrangement of Fritz Kreisler’s bittersweet Liebesleid as a makeshift stage in the chain that tied the program together.”
Information.dk, March 2012
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2
“Boris Giltburg opened with arpeggiated semibreves (a rather unusual effect) and continued to mint afresh what could be regarded as an all-too-often heard warhorse. Järvi accompanied with great aplomb.”
Classical Source, February 2012
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Chopin Piano Concerto No.1
“Following the orchestral introduction of themes Giltburg’s penetrating articulation promised a virtuoso performance, and so it was. Nothing anonymous here with poetic felicities in abundance and silken ropes of notes.
The central movement’s lyrical sentiments were deliciously drawn and the finale’s dancing gait saw Giltburg’s dazzling fingerwork fully rewarded, returning with an encore.”
Bournemouth Echo, October 2011
Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
“Giltburg is already a true master in conveying what this particular concerto is all about.
This Opus 1, more than Rachmaninov’s later ones, gives the soloist the honest-to-goodness freedom to indulge in excitable virtuosity. Never for a second do you hear a melody at the expense of darkly swirling left-hand accompaniments. Everything is articulated with sterling clarity and perfect sense.
Such candour as Giltburg displays can be dangerous. Not here. He never impeded Rachmaninov’s winged lyricism by any form of literalness. Already in the opening movement Korsten and Giltburg form a real partnership in their approach. Through this the mercurial quality of the writing is projected with charisma and joint flexibility.
There is a heartening feeling of repose in the Andante with the pianist demonstrating some textural clarity which reminded one in particular passages of Ravel. In the Allegro Vivace finale, Giltburg’s fleet-fingered ardour was solely put in place to convey the composer’s intentions through his highly developed fluency, passion and stylistic integrity. A performance no one would ever want to forget…”
IOL, July 2011
Recital at Ruhr Klavier-festival, Dortmund / Bach (arr. Busoni), Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev & Schumann
“The Russian's touch is lyrical but powerful...He played Tchaikovsky's "May" and "August" from the "Seasons", and indeed Liszt's "La Leggierezza" with great technical precision. He gave an exemplary performance in the contrasting moods of Prokofiev's 3rd War Sonata, with its emphatic rhythms, and Rachmaninov's "Liebesleid" which he gave as his first encore.”
"Kraft hat der Russe und einen sanglichen Anschlag. In Busonis Bearbeitung von Bachs Violin-Chaconne hörte man das. Russisches Repertoire liegt dem 27-Jährigen. Die Monatsbilder en Mai und August aus Tschaikowskys "Jahreszeiten"-Zyklus spielte er präzise und technisch überlegen - wie auch zuvor Liszts Studie über die "Leichtigkeit". Exemplarisch zeigte Giltburg seine zwei Pianistenseelen in der rhythmisch markanten dritten Kriegssonate von Prokofjew und dem folgenden Liebeslied von Rachmaninow als erste Zugabe."
Ruhr Nachrichten, June 2011
Wigmore Hall Recital / Chopin, Prokofiev & Ravel
“Boris Giltburg is already well-known here thanks to stunning concerto performances. If his Wigmore recital was pitched at a decibel level more suited to the Royal Festival Hall, it still made a splendid evening. Chopin’s Ballades came clothed in glorious raiment, with three Mazurkas arrestingly turned, and Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 6 sounding more Russian than usual; Ravel’s La Valse made a volcanic conclusion. Giltburg [has] a winning platform manner.”
Michael Church, International Piano Magazine, May 2011
“It isn’t every day young pianists are compared to the great Richter, but Boris Giltburg has been on more than one occasion. In a sense, you can hear why: his Chopin Ballades at the Wigmore sounded gloriously poetic and free as he pushed and pulled at their tempi. It was old-school, but magical and quite ravishing too.”
Andrew Mellor, Classic FM Magazine, May 2011
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
“...Giltburg used plenty of virtuosic effects, but as part of a varied range of expression. Both soloist and conductor emphasised the lyrical, contemplative aspects of the work. This was an interpretation which reinforced the work’s carefully placed contrasts, where islands of tranquillity are set against dramatic outbursts. Giltburg played the climax of the first movement (the powerful solo cadenza) with authority but without excessive force... Giltburg held his own throughout the performance; his Andante also had a rich emotional range with many tender passages.”
Svenska Dagblad, March 2011
Recital at Sony Auditorium, Madrid
“The most extraordinary thing about Giltburg is that he puts his transcendental technique to the service of the music without any intention of self-display. Racy speed, overwhelming climaxes, a rich shielding of sonorous colours, impressive dynamic contrast: all of this he delivers in a spontaneous, natural way to communicate to us the sensations he feels through the music he interprets. One detail that stands out is the little use he makes of the left pedal. He achieves the pianos and pianissimos with the fingers of both hands and we know how difficult and delicate this is. It’s a long time I have not experienced something like this in a young pianist....an exceptional recital, in every way”
Mundoclasico, February 2011
Recital with SWR Symphony Orchestra / Chopin Ballades
“Right from the opening unison chords – threatening and resigned by turns – Giltburg was clearly determined to avoid empty virtuosity, but to use it as a creative force justified by the particular emotional landscape. Giltburg resisted the temptation to break loose ahead of time....He played with delicate, subtle rubato. The rich colours were carried by a sonorous bass line, and the inner voices were kept in check.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 2011
Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.2
“Boris Giltburg’s performance was completely free of exaggeration and personal mannerisms. It was of course technically very good…conveying depth and power. His phrasing and sense of dynamic were perfectly matched, creating an exemplary musical whole. He managed to lead the orchestra with this interpretation, which resulted in a wonderful overall impression.”
Skånska Dagbladet, November 2010
Recital at Hessischen Rundfunk, Frankfurt / Bach (arr. Busoni), Grieg, Liszt, Albeniz & Rachmaninov
"Boris Giltburg’s recital was immediately arresting and, indeed, it was very striking to see the care he took to shape every single note and,thanks to his limitless technical prowess and supreme control, to let the emotionally-charged soundscape unfurl.”
Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung, October 2010
BBC Proms Debut
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / cond. Martyn Brabbins / Liszt Piano Concerto No.1
"...Giltburg's stunning performance ... Richter and Rubinstein are this pianist's keyboard gods, and his playing has already been plausibly compared with theirs; here his weightless, crystalline sound brought out the purity of Liszt's lyricism and the luxuriance of his effects. There was no question of the audience letting this bright, brilliant creature go without giving an encore, and when it came – Liszt at his most ethereal – it was breathtaking."
Independent, August 2010
Guardian, August 2010
"He’s a smiling, elfin presence, and he made Liszt’s concerto seem a fleet-footed and glittery thing, the lyrical moments quiet and inward rather than showy."
Daily Telegraph, August 2010
"Boris Giltburg took full advantage of his unexpected Proms debut with playing of bravura and rhetoric, diablerie and elegance. With fine support from Brabbins and the BBCSSO, not least contributions of the utmost camaraderie from clarinettist Yann Ghiro, Giltburg brought fresh impetus and romance to this concentrated piano concerto. His encore was welcome and special, a spellbinding account of Liszt’s La Leggierezza (the second of his three Concert Studies), a glittering surface decorating a nebula of sepulchral tones."
Classical Source, August 2010
Deutsche Radiophilharmonie / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2
“The young Russian Boris Giltburg, without being at all ostentatious or self-aggrandising, brought his reading of the composer's intentions to bear, in that he played this Romantic/symphonic solo concerto as a partner rather than an opponent of the orchestra... His playing was faultless.”
Pfaelzischer Merkur, May 2010
“There was harmonious accord between conductor, soloist and orchestra as regards the development of sound, the structure of the work and the way the themes were brought out. Whether in the virtuosic solo passages or the controlled orchestral tuttis, everything joined in keeping this opulent and brilliant sound-world from becoming weighed-down. The soloist employed his talents in making music with the orchestra, saving demonstrations of prowess for the virtuosic passages, and seeking to knit together the orchestral and solo parts...”
Rheinfalz, May 2010
Gilmore International Keyboard Festival / Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev & Liszt
“Seemingly, Giltburg was born to play Beethoven… Boris Giltburg is one to watch closely.”
Michigan Live, December 2009
Philharmonia Orchestra / cond. Vassily Petrenko / Grieg Piano Concerto
“Giltburg produced a big and generous sound. What’s more its richness totally related to the fantasy of his phrasing. The way Grieg’s lyric fancies opened to his touch here made you understand why this piece is so adored.”
Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk, November 2009
Hay-on-Wye Festival / Bach arr. Busoni, Grieg & Rachmaninov
“I was left shaking and speechless by the superlative music-making of Boris Giltburg… a breathtakingly musical rendition of Grieg’s Sonata in E minor, op.7, and a technically ravishing, emotionally sensitive interpretation of Rachmaninov’s second piano sonata in B-flat minor.”
The Spectator, May 2009
Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires / Chopin Piano Concerto No.2
“If it’s true that every generation has it’s own outstanding performers, Boris Giltburg is one of the most eminent of his”
La Nacion, May 2009
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1
“Giltburg is undoubtedly riveting to watch, achieving grandeur and nobility”
Liverpool Echo, February 2009
“Boris Giltburg must have done something right when he last came to Liverpool. His performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto last season practically brought the house down, so he was back to perform another popular blockbuster - Tchaikovsky's First.
…Giltburg provided a grandiose opening... the allegro con spirito section… saw an explosion of energy which drew the orchestra and soloist together impressively.”
Daily Post, February 2009
Philharmonia Orchestra & Nicola Luisotti / Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto
“Then, following on from his Rachmaninov last year, Giltburg chose another Russian warhorse, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1. As one expects from a young pianist of the Russian school, he has a big bear of a technique, ready to face down the most fearsome technical challenges. There is musicianship too, but it is his determination to get every note exactly as he wants it that gave this performance its distinction – not just his grasp of the barnstorming moments, but the unruffled precision of his double octaves, the evenness of his thirds, the weighting of each note in the melodies.”
Financial Times, January 2009
“Luisotti and the Philharmonia Orchestra were sympathetic accompanists to Boris Giltburg in a fresh-faced approach to Tchaikovsky’s ubiquitous First Piano Concerto. Giltburg’s mannerism-free and crisply articulated playing was a joy, so too his refusal to turn the solo part into a self-aggrandising vehicle…”
Classical Source, January 2009
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra & Hannu Lintu / Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.2
“Moscow-born, Tel Aviv-trained Boris Giltburg played it with exuberant, cartoonish exaggeration, as a kind of dazzling, mid-20th-century musical hokum.“
Irish Times, January 2009
DSO Berlin / Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3
“The audience's favourite was the russo-israeli pianist Boris Giltburg. He relished Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto as though he were sampling champagne. His bone-dry precision had a playful effect, and it was a pleasure to watch his hands during the passage-work. He didn't try to gloss over the work's countless abrupt changes and contrasts, but embraced them like a mother embraces her over-excitable children.”
Der Tagesspiegel, December 2008
Tampere Philharmonic & Hunna Lintu / Scriabin Piano Concerto No.3
"The concert introduced to Tampere audiences a genuine piano virtuoso. Russian born Boris Giltburg charmed them with his brilliant technique in a Scriabin concerto full of youthful energy."
Helsingin Aamulehti, November 2008
"Scriabin´s Piano Concerto F minor… was played by a brilliant talent, 24 year old Israeli Boris Giltburg.
His Chopin-inspired solo playing was poetically glittering and sublimely singing. Together with Hannu Lintu he created in the concerto a spontaneous wave of emotion that swung between being dreamy and emotional charged."
Helsingin Sanomat, November 2008
Queen Elizabeth Hall / Beethoven, Scriabin, Rachmaninov & Schumann
“At only 24, the young Russian had the audacity to start his debut South Bank recital with Beethoven's transcendent last Sonata, Op.111, the piece you traditionally never follow. We'll be hearing a lot more of Boris Giltburg.
But there was clear thinking behind the apparent madness throughout his programme and to start the Beethoven, as he did, after a protracted and concentrated silence in which the required energy was visibly revving up inside him, made the maestoso introduction uncommonly intense with Giltburg hunched over the keyboard leaning into every dissonance.
The explosive allegro appassionato was all the more precipitous for it - a classical allegro unhinged, its only semblance of sanity to be found in tiny diversions to a calmer and more formal music. There is devilish energy in the fantastic rhythmic clarity of Giltburg's playing. But the bigger challenge was to come: the profound calm of the ensuing Arietta with its extraordinary heaven-bound variations.
…Scriabin's Sonata No.4 in F-sharp aspired to the same lofty regions and Giltburg looked and sounded well at home amongst its heady, diaphanous harmonies. He was simply dazzling in the second movement prestissimo which is entirely about rhythmic scintillation and mastery of the extremely tricky contradiction between lightness and weight. He did.
No doubts, either, about his Rachmaninov and a storming performance of the massively symphonic Etude-Tableau No.7 in C minor. The sonorities here were magnificently rich and commanding with the grimly insistent second idea marking time towards the climactic panoply of funeral bells - a moment bigger than either piano or hall could contain.
Then to Schumann's quirky, playful, touching comedy of life and love - Carnaval. Here, in marked contrast to the Beethoven at the other end of the programme, there was joy and a spirit of delight in the madness, something which Giltburg with his amazingly mature sensibilities clearly relished exploring. He's the real thing, alright.”
Independent, November 2008
Schwetzingen Festspiele / Bach, Beethoven, Franck, Scriabin & Prokofiev
"Giltburg played the Beethoven op.101 with a light touch, sensitively illuminating its spring-like qualities...We thought we had already been treated to Giltburg's communicative powers in full, but he went on to astonish his listeners, raising his game to an unbelievable extent with an inexhaustible array of special effects in his performances of Prokofiev's Sonata No.7."
Schwetzinger Woche, May 2008
“From start (Liszt) to finish (Prokofiev), Boris Giltburg's recital brought to light an aspect of virtuosity neglected by many of his peers: the close relationship between art and technique."
Schwetzinger Zeitung, May 2008
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.3
“Richly coloured and crisply articulated, inner lines lively and clearly drawn, Giltburg's assured, mature reading mesmerised a transfixed audience…”
Birmingham Post, January 2008
China Tour 2007 - Recital in Kunming
"…Boris Guiltburg, an exciting and versatile piano performer from Israel mesmerized his audience with his flair at a concert in Kunming. Having a finger dance on black and white keys of piano, Boris displayed fine technique in pieces of Beethoven's Sonata Op. 111, Chopin's Ballade No. 1 and Prokofiev's Sonata No. 8 Op. 84…which received enthusiastic applause and tremendous response from the audience.
Kmon On-Line, November 2007
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Grieg
"[Boris Giltburg] produced a compelling performance of the A minor concerto, full of thundering but seemingly effortless passages and dramatic flourishes."
Liverpool Echo, September 2007
Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Rachmaninov
"The Israeli pianist, who is barely 23 years old, gave a phenomenal performance of Rachmaninov's second piano concerto. ... the fineness of detail in his playing was quite simply brilliant."
Kvälls Posten Expressen, September 2007
Cheltenham Festival / Schubert, Chopin & Payne
"Giltburg was fully in command, supple and agile, tasteful and wise to the organic nature of the piano's decorative writing."
Daily Telegraph, July 2007
In recital for VAI DVD
"From Giltburg, we get calm, assured attention to the music at hand. The results are very special. Giltburg plays like a young Richter... His program seems designed to show his interpretive range… Giltburg has a fearsome technique that gives extraordinary strength and clarity of line to Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue. He displays excellent taste in everything he plays here. The Liszt Sonata in B minor is breathtaking in its full-throated power and poetic interludes."
American Record Guide, May-June 2007
Mussorgsky, Prokofiev & Scriabin on EMI
"A brilliant performance of this striking yet technically challenging cycle from one of today's most exciting young pianists."
BBC Music Magazine, August 2007
"Giltburg captures the mood of the work with extraordinary authority for one so young, evidently relishing the intensity of the music, as well as its brilliance in the finale…his is a reading which is thoroughly persuasive, notable for its tonal variety and intelligent pacing as well as its startling virtuosity. Altogether a very fine début recital."
International Record Review, July-August 2006
"Giltburg captures [Scriabin's Second Sonata]'s post-Chopinesque candour here to perfection. In Prokofiev's towering Eighth Sonata, as in the Musorgsky, he faces inevitable comparisons with the very greatest, Sviatoslav Richter, turning in an equally valid reading….He's surely more convincing than any other interpreter."
BBC Music Magazine, June 2006
Miami International Piano Festival / Bach, Schubert, Scriabin & Liszt
"Giltburg opened the Festival on May 11 with an exciting display of interpretive freedom. Bach's Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue had stunning exhilaration. The clarity of Bach's inner voicings was but one example of Giltburg's technical mastery. He brought tremendous extremes of volume and dynamics to Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy. Giltburg's subtle, imaginatively lyrical flights were often beguiling. With big boned virtuosity to burn, he sailed through Scriabin's Sonata-Fantasy No.2 in G-sharp minor with marvelous freedom and inflected the Chopinesque filigree with rippling beauty. In Liszt's huge Sonata in B Minor, Giltburg's penchant for adventurous, unconventional phrasing took center stage. His was a fascinating traversal in the true Liszt mold - delicate, flaming, and exciting. As encores, Giltburg brought romantic languor to Rachmaninoff's witty take on Fritz Kreisler's Liebesfreud and jazzy power to Gershwin's Rialto Rhythms.
The Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg, who made his American debut at the 2004 Miami International Piano Festival, returned to offer some fiery pianism. His wildly improvisatory performance of Beethoven's Concerto No.3 in C Minor was in the Russian tradition. Giltburg's brilliant, free wheeling cadenza in the first movement was spellbinding. He played the Largo twice as slowly as most pianists. Giltburg sailed into the Rondo finale at lightning speed with a vivid demonstration of impressive technical facility. This pianist is certainly individualistic."
Entertainment News & Views, May 2006
"In 2004 Giltburg demonstrated a hugely impressive technique, and it was clear that the 22-year old pianist has honed his prodigious arsenal to an even finer point. In a challenging program, Giltburg blazed through the most demanding passages flawlessly and with a textural clarity and digital power that were even more commanding than in his last appearance.
The tortuous difficulties of Liszt's epic Sonata in B minor seemed to vanish in Giltburg's hands. Rarely will one hear this music tackled with such extraordinary strengh and security. The pianist skillfully held the vast single-movement structure together, the fusillade of notes and myriad complexities thrown off with remarkable finish."
Sun Sentinel, May 2006
Jovellanos Theatre, Gijón / Schubert & Liszt
"..Boris will have a place amongst the great pianists of the 21st century ... a lively Fantasia, moving, marvellously accented in the first part, contained and stately in the second section, and tense in the final part, calm and transparently contrapuntal in the Fugue. Undoubtedly, Boris has technical ability, but he has musicality as well, colour and structural understanding of the work. "
El Comercio , January 2006
Herkulessaal, Munich / Beethoven, Scriabin & Prokofiev
"[His performance of Scriabin's 2nd sonata] was free in execution and bereft of any superficial mannerisms, in his attempt to express it as one long breath. The same went (with minor exceptions) for Prokofiev's 8th Sonata."
Sueddeutsche Zeitung , December 2006
Concierto de la Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Buenos Aires / Prokofiev
"a virtuosity founded on notable technical ability … as well as a brilliant and nuanced touch - such as distinguishes the great pianists"
La Nacion , September 2005
Recital in Montevideo, Uruguay
"From his round and ample sound, to his subtle and delicate touch, from his virtuoso playing to his dramatic vehemence, from his martial execution to his cantabile phrasing, everything was present in Giltburg's performance, who upon finishing …was deservedly met with a standing ovation… Nuances, colours, moods and emotions were exposed with interpretational maturity, making this performance the evening's most brilliant, a performance with special intellectual and emotional insight."
Klasicaa Magazine, September 2005
Recital at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples
"When referring to a twenty-one year old pianist, one normally talks about the future: how good he might be, how famous he might be… In the case of Boris Giltburg, who made his debut last Monday at the San Carlo theatre, having taken first prize at the Vendome competition, there is no need for risky predictions: his style, which is in equal measures virtuosic and refined, already merits considerable attention."
Il Mattino, May 2005
"Busoni's virtuosic arrangement of the Bach did not present the slightest difficulty to Giltburg, who at some points, such as in the storm of fast scales, repeated notes and chords, moreover displayed an assurance and calm reminiscent of the great concert performers. In the Beethoven sonata, which requires wisdom, sensitivity, intelligence and extraordinary energy, the young pianist interpreted the immortal and colossal score with resolute control and expressiveness in equal measures. ... It is only right and proper to say, that a new genius of the keyboard has been born"
Napoliú, May 2005
"[H]e boasts a pianistic talent that, for technical temperament and above all stylistic elegance, outstrips many of the young athletes of the keyboard who have been distinguished, as he was at the 2003 Vendome Prize in Lisbon, in leading international competitions. ... At twenty one years old, Boris Giltburg has the pianistic elegance of the masters"
Corriere del Mezzogiorno, May 2005
KZN Philharmonic / Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1
"Giltburg infused the music with playfulness and humour, and the right degree of tranquility where necessary. The final movement gallops along with great excitement and is full of beautiful melodies. There is lovely dialogue between soloist and orchestra, especially the flute and winds, culminating in the exhilarating finale in which Giltburg's virtuosity was so evident. A remarkable performer, he confirmed this with beautifully executed encores by Kreisler and Rachmaninov."
Kwana Newspaper, February 2005
"[The] 20 year-old Boris Giltburg, who was born in Moscow and now lives in Israel, gave a performance of exceptional brilliance and clarity. He is a handsome young man who sits so far from the keyboard that I thought he might have some difficulty in reaching the notes. Never fear, he was in total control throughout this difficult and demanding work, with no hint of a false note or wrong accent. He has big hands, and they became a blur of speed in the rapid octave passages. His style of playing is flamboyant but unaffected, and his extreme technical prowess extended to a beautiful singing tone in the concerto's expressive passages, especially in the slow movement."
Artsmart, February 2005
Recital / Bach, Schumann & Mussorgsky
"In contrast to other compatriots of the same generation who rely upon their technical bravura, Giltburg's interpretation uncovered hidden depths of meaning."
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 2004
Recital / Beethoven, Scriabin, Albéniz & Schumann
"One would not expect a pianist aged 20 to have the emotional depth and wisdom of the great maestros; however, with his technical assurance, clarity of sound, and overwhelming musicality Giltburg is destined to go far."
El País Madrid, June 2004
Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid / Rachmaninov Piano Concert no. 3
"His interpretation of Rachmaninov's third piano concerto is that of a great musician. We shall remember it as a jewel with three facets; the first facet was the elegant perfection of his sound, right from the opening phrase. The second was his skill and discipline at mastering the work's technical difficulties: the octaves and repeated notes did not sound like a well-performed technical exercise rather an attractive musical gesture. Thirdly, he impressed with his precocious maturity as a creator. "
Diario la Razón, April 2004
Recital / Beethoven, Franck & Scriabin
"The young pianist Boris Giltburg … possesses a maturity of interpretation that amazes one after hearing his impressive concert, a colossal avalanche of sound…"
El Correo de Vitoria, March 2003
"Giltburg plays with freshness and imagination, he approaches the works from a global perspective and with careful stylistic sensibility. He possesses a special ability to bring out with independence and clarity the polyphonic lines in the keys. It is as though each of his fingers has its own mind and its own heart."
El Comercio, Gijón, March 2003
London Symphony Orchestra / cond. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos / Bartok Piano Concerto No. 3
"So hat der Wettbewerb doch wieder erbracht, was man schon immer von Wettbewerben forderte: Ein Musiker wurde entdeckt, auf den man in Zukunft hören wird, ja hören muss. Er ist noch sehr jung, aber er besitzt Wachheit wie unbedingte, konzentrierte Emphase. Nichts, so ist zu vermuten, dürfte ihn von seinem künstlerischen Weg ablenken."
NMZ, October 2002
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