Rist-Larsen was born in 1971 and began to play the accordion at
the age of 3. She distinguished herself during her childhood years
as an exceptional musical talent, and has since attracted attention
nationally and abroad. She has won international competitions
Gothenburg and Copenhagen, as well as national contests. In 1995
she was awarded the Honda prize for her performance of Baroque
music. Rist-Larsen feels a particular kinship with the music of
the first half of the 18th century, and has pioneered this music
on her instrument. In the spring of 1996 she held an acclaimed
debut concert in Olso, consisting exclusively of the music of
Bach - Johann Sebastian and all his 4 composer sons.
In addition, contemporary music
makes up a major part of her repertoire. She has premiered several
new works for accordion in a chamber setting, as well as for accordion
and orchestra. She also plays the violin and is a sought-after
pedagogue on both instruments.
Lena plays on a Zero-Sette accordion
with complete and independent manuals, tailor-made for both contemporary
and Baroque music. Particularly the latter with its demand for
timbral coherence is especially suited for the instrument, whose
registration was chosen like that of an organ. It is furthermore
an important objective for Rist_Larsen to execute the music as
faithfully to the original score as possible - it has therefore
not been "arranged" for the accordion beyond the demands to accommodate
the music to the range of the instrument. In other words, it is
Bach's unfalsified score we are hearing, not a modified or modernised
It is instantly obvious from Lena's
performance that this major Bach work was approached professionally.
Just the fact that the whole colossal Goldberg Variations were
performed and recorded on the accordion is quite impressive.
The following qualities of Lena's
performance made the biggest impression on me: precision and clarity
with which the articulation is executed and maintained throughout
the piece; amazing bellows control and equally important - tonal
control. Her tonal refinement comes from the 'inside'. Listening
to her slow movements (variations), I am under the impression
that she hears the tone before it has been 'born', feels what
quality it should have and directs and empowers it her own way.
To me, that's an amazing quality of any performer - tonal refinement
and beauty as it is an ultimate goal of any true musician.
This recording is a Baroque treat.*****