Reined in Fisk
Tom Poore | South Euclid, OH | 08/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On occasion, I've wondered how Eliot Fisk would play if he stopped trying to prove he's faster, louder, and smarter than everyone else. Though his talent is obvious, it seldom is accompanied by discipline and taste. But here, for once, we have a CD that plays to his strengths and tempers his faults.
Part of the credit goes to the other musicians on this recording. It's harder for Fisk in indulge his vulgar tendencies when playing alongside musicians who know better. And baroque music imposes a certain dignity and reserve on those who play it. So on this CD we have a confluence of checks and balances that rein in the willfully mercurial Fisk.
To be sure, this recording won't appeal to everyone. The choppiness, jackhammer accents, and scruffy tone that usually mar Fisk's playing are still in evidence, though mercifully subdued. Further, while in ornamentation some believe less is more, Fisk believes more is never quite enough. Boys will be boys, and Fisk will be Fisk. But Vivaldi favors the bold. Allied with musicians who perform with color and zest, here Fisk shines.
This CD was recorded in 1992, so there's little hope that it signals a growing musical maturity. Fisk doubtless is aware of his critics, but gets enough praise that he sees no reason to change. (Would that he could value apt criticism over sycophantic praise.) For whatever reason, Fisk has chosen to remain the Peter Pan of guitar: a musical adolescent who refuses to grow up. This CD offers a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been."