Good Program... Bad Sound
Donald G. Hite III | Houston, Tx USA | 08/01/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD because I needed a recording of the Martinu Sonatina, which isn't widely recorded. I hadn't heard of either the Ladmirault or the Bjelinski Sonatas, and was pleasantly surprised to find that both pieces are well written and worthly of many listenings.
The Martinu and Rabaud are pretty well done. I have since acquired additional recordings, and after comparison I think that Edwards interpretations are excellent.
Now for the problems... His Saint-Saens (a piece I've played and am very familiar with) is just plain bad. His style is at many time forced. In spots there are rubatos that are so overdone they are purely a distraction.
Edward's sound is very abrasive. It works in faster/more lively movements, but in slow movements it becomes grating and unpleasant. It sounds like he is playing like an orchestral clarinetist trying to cut through an orchestra, rather than a chamber musician trying to convey the beauty and nuance of these more intimate pieces.
While this CD has many issues, I still enjoy it because it has an interesting program of pieces that aren't often recorded. Also, Edwards does succeed on a few pieces on this disc. This is a worthwhile CD, but don't expect breathtaking performances..."
Technical Brilliance, Little Known Gems.
Edward Bee | 03/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rate this CD among the very top of my classical collection, the musicianship and technical virtuosity rate among the very best I have heard.
The music selection, apart from the gorgeous Saint-Saens Sonata, (the reason for buying the CD), is of less often performed works and is a very pleasant bonus. Edwards plays the last movement of the Saint-Saens technically flawlessly, and as fast as I have heard but never loses, even with the difficult high notes at the end, his perfect intonation and focus. Both musicians also play the Martinu superbly. Seamless ensemble playing at its best.
The slow movement of the Bruno Bjelinski Sonata, track 10, is hauntingly beautiful. An exciting discovery of an unknown composer.
This is one of those cases where no matter how often one listens, it's hard to see how any improvement would be possible.