Boris Goltz Complete Works for Solo Piano
Label: Music & Arts
Released: November 1, 2008
Catalog Num: Music & Arts CD-1210
Boris Goltz (1913-42) is yet another tragic figure who died young as a result of war. Born in Tashkent, he moved with his family to Leningrad, where he attended the Central Music College. As a pianist he helped his family by accompanying silent films at the movie theaters. In 1934 he was admitted to the Leningrad Conservatory where he wrote these Preludes during his second year of study.

While the album boasts "Complete Works for Solo Piano", his very limited output is supplemented by some Chopin selections, listed only on the back of the box.

All of this is played by a Moscow-born pianist who now resides in London. On the basis of just these few piano works, one could say that Goltz's premature departure from this earth denied us the talents of a potentially major figure in the annals of Russian music. If you enjoy Prokofieff, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin you will be glad to know that the influence of each comes through without ever dominating the whole. Goltz speaks with his own voice, and an impressive voice it is.

The Scherzo, at only four minutes, a wild demonic rattling of bones in quest of a whirlwind conclusion. This wildness is present as well in many of the Preludes; they hold to Chopin's brevity without ever sounding like the Polish master. There is a glint of Rachmaninoff every so often but only enough to remind us of that master's domination of keyboard technique. There is also a certain Russian brooding that enters the scene in the slower Preludes. The fourth of these, and the longest at just over three minutes, is particularly beautiful in its Russian soul. How astonishing that music of this quality should remain unknown for so long.

The Chopin grouping consists of two Nocturnes (Op. 15:1 and Op. 27:2), the Op. 69:2 Waltz, and the Op. 53 Polonaise. The notes, while quite informative about Goltz, say nothing about the Chopin. Podobedov is too fine a pianist to be ignored. His Chopin is beautifully proportioned, rubato is sensitively handled, and the four selections come up fresh and distinguished when compared with the scads of recordings available.

Despite the timing, few will feel cheated if they purchase this, but all will wish there were more from this outstanding pianist. The recording, from the Pavel Slobodkin Center in Moscow, is well engineered.

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Updated: Jul-21-2011
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