BACH: Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in d, BWV 903; Italian Concerto in F, BWV 971; Partita No. 6 in e, BWV 830 – Sergei Edelmann, piano – Triton multichannel SACD EXCL-00021, 60:36 [Distr. by Albany] ***:
Sergei Edelmann has been on the scene for a number of years now. Born in Lvov, Ukraine in 1960, he was taught by his father, Alexander Edelmann, Felix Blumenfeld (professor of Vladimir Horowitz), and Heinrich Neuhaus (professor of Sviatoslav Richter), who instructed him from the early age of 5. He became noted for a series of outstanding recordings on the BMG/RCA label, and in general a specialist in mainstream romantic music, especially Chopin. I was favorably impressed with his previous set dedicated that composer.
But Bach is a different category, and here I am not nearly as pleased. In all of these works, but especially in the Partita, Edelmann demonstrates little more than a penchant for extreme cautiousness, as if simply playing the notes is enough to motivate the inner Bachian muse to speak. It doesn’t happen with Bach any more than it does with any other composer, and the results are generally lifeless shells that plead for more interpretative finesse yet fail to receive it. The Italian Concerto, surely one of the more ebullient pieces in the Bach catalog, treads along like it was afraid of hitting a trip wire. And it takes a lot to neuter the drama out of the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, but Edelmann finds a way in this lackluster, all-notes-there but no-engine-present reading that only needs 10 seconds comparison to Glenn Gould to see what the issues are.
The sound, this time true multichannel SACD [although Triton is gradually converting to just stereo SACD since there’s no market for multichannel in Japan…Ed.] is expansive and nicely balanced. Triton seems to be rocking back and forth between multichannel and stereo SACD for no logical reason. The latter is very good, but I can honestly report that the surround really blooms. I just wish the content on this disc was more enticing.
Pure Pleasure Records releases a re-mastered live vinyl of a great tenor saxophonist.