Two exquisite moments framed Sergei Edelmann's recital at Ambassador Auditorium on Wednesday night.
At the beginning of the evening, the young pianist from the Ukraine brought emotional serenity and pointed musicality to an all-but-unknown item by Franz Schubert, the "Klavierstueck" in E-flat. At the end, his first encore, Schumann's "Arabeske," showed again Edelmann's penchant for combining passion and lyricism.
But, otherwise, this recital, in which the 24-year-old musician replaced the indisposed Alexis Weissenberg, turned out to be ordinary.
Immensely gifted and hugely accomplished, Edelmann nevertheless disappointed in this Schubert-Chopin program. He disappointed through his failure to project strongly any personal ideas about the music--in addition to the "Klavierstueck," the "Wanderer" Fantasy, two Polonaises, three Etudes and a Nocturne--and to deliver a modicum of pianistic colors in their execution.
Edelmann commands a resourceful technique, which he uses to musical effect, and usually orthodox interpretive ideas. But at this point in an obviously promising career, he displays little distinctiveness as an individual, little compulsion as a performer. And the sound he produces at the piano, although broad in dynamic range and never harsh, is severely limited in coloristic possibilities.