Evgeny Soifertis

Nápravník: Concerto symphonique; Fantaisie russe; Blumenfeld: Allegro

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With this, the 37th volume in Hyperion's The Romantic Piano Concerto series, it might be time to stop. Although the series has given listeners many marvelous performances and many wonderful premieres, with these recordings of works by Eduard Nápravnik and Felix Blumenfeld, it could be time to call it quits. All the performances here by pianist Evgeny Soifertis with Alexander Titov leading the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are first-rate, but it doesn't help. Soifertis has a massively powerful virtuoso technique and a tremendous amount of interpretive flair. Titov has absolute command of the music and complete sympathy with Soifertis' interpretation. The Scottish BBC plays with more passionate dedication than professional courtesy. But the music defies revivification: brilliant but shallow, emotive but empty, grand but meaningless, the notes roll off Soifertis' fingers and are immediately forgotten -- forgotten, that is, except for Nápravnik's unfortunately unforgettable Fantaisie russe that opens with the most vulgar setting of the Song of the Volga Boatman ever unleashed on the ears of an unsuspecting humanity. Hyperion's sound is as warm and clear as ever.

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