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.'
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a bloc with previously unknown, unpublished, and even once-damaged recordings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.
Copyright © 3 July 2002
John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA