Evgeni Finkelstein - Lachrimae
Russian guitarist Evgeni Finkelstein was born in Moscow in 1972 and began guitar lessons at the age of 11 with Alexander Rauchi. He went on to study with guitarist and composer Nikita Koshkin and at the Russian Gnesin Academy of Music with Alexander Kamillowitsch Frautschi. Finkelstein has won numerous international awards and currently teaches at the Moscow State Classical Academy. He follows up his previous two releases – “The Fall of Birds: Russian Guitar Music” and “Sonata”, which features music by Weiss, Bach and Giuliani – with a programme of mostly Renaissance and Baroque music originally written for lute – contemporary composer Carlo Domeniconi’s ever-popular Koyunbaba being the single exception.
Finkelstein has a gorgeous tone and is scrupulous in his attention to detail; however, as did Segovia before him, he tends to dwell on certain tones for the sheer pleasure of their sound. The result for the most part is a lack of flow that is especially fatal in the quicker dance movements. After a beautifully free treatment of the opening “Arpeggio” of the Sonata in F for archlute by Giovanni Zamboni (1674-1718), the remaining movements, especially the Minuet, seem slightly stilted. Dowland’s lute pieces fare better, with Lachrimae as dark and haunting as it should be and The Most Sacred Queen Elizabeth, Her Galliarde imbued with a certain aloof briskness.
The de Visée suite, despite the well-executed ornamentation, just doesn’t cohere as a performance, the forest all but invisible for the trees. Koyunbaba also suffers from a lack of fluency that has less to do with technical proficiency (Finkelstein obviously has technique to burn) than with an inability simply to let go.