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An aviator of the piano

A unique recording of Russian pianist Samuel Feinberg -
reviewed by JOHN BELL YOUNG

'... a pianist whose pristine command of the instrument is matched equally by his poetic sensibility.'

Feinberg - first recordings. © 1999 Arbiter Records

Allan Evans, the owner of Arbiter Records, is that rare creature, a devoted archivist of the piano. Scouring public and private record collections the world over, he has proved nothing if not consistent. His catalog is choc a bloc with previously unknown, unpublished, and even once-damaged recordings of great pianists, some whose names remain obscure to the general public, and a few even to musicians. Mr Evans, who is not a pianist, but a professional guitarist and composer, has once again shown what impeccable taste can do in compensation, something that was often lost in the sometimes inferior selection of pianists made available on the Great Pianist Series, so shabbily administered by Philips Records under the direction of an amateur, Tom Deacon.

Fortunately Mr Evans, who can be viewed as an object lesson on how to run an independent record company -- which is to say, with an informed point of view and determination marred only by infrequent lapses (he has, inexplicably, a poor opinion of Arthur Rubinstein) -- has yet again rewarded diehard pianophiles with this unique recording of Russian pianist Samuel Feinberg (1890-1962). Feinberg, who achieved nearly legendary status in his native land, and the highest esteem of his colleagues the world over, never performed in America, a casualty, it seems, of Cold War politics.

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Copyright © 3 July 2002 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


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