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Title: Alexander Dmitriev, Pathes of Centuries
con V. Dmitriev (bajan, tracce 12-13), E. Dmitrieva (bajan, traccia 13), J. Idina (bajan, traccia 13).
Artist: Alexander Dmitriev
Supplied by: - CD available from the artists site on - Listen to Sound tracks online. Order by credit card using a secure server bank system.
Review date: 26 April 2006

Pathes of Centuries

This is the latest disc by one of the most renowned accordionists and representatives of the "Russian school" - Alexander Dmitriev. A winner at age 21, of the prestigious international competition of Klingenthal, this artist has performed more than 2000 concerts as a soloist, recorded 8 LP's and 8 CD's as well as being author of many teaching works and transcriptions (such as the celebrated "Cavatina of Figaro").

The selected program of this CD - an anthology (as often occurs in the accordion world) - comprises 3 transcriptions (by Dmitriev) and 5 original compositions, highlighting an interpretive technique of a virtuoso with a sincere expressiveness in the best Russian traditions.

Cronologically, the journey proposed, starts with a "courageous" transcription of Vivaldi's Winter op.8 n.4 (from the Four Seasons): even if some passages are "debatable" the work nevertheless validates itself: it clarifies and in some ways confirms the orchestral value of the accordion (in this case the bayan) and its analogies with the expressive aspects of the string section (for example the use of bellows shake).

Even with a knowledgeable use of the registers however, there is a bit missing in the contrasting "solo-all", typical of a Vivaldi concerto (and baroque generally): in this sense a performance by an accordion quartet or quintet would guarantee a more expected result (even if not necessarily more effective).

I remember however that - as with all major works - there exists many transcriptions and elaborations of Vivaldis' "Seasons": from the past , for example for flute and clavichord to the more recent for electronic organ and indeed jazz band.. and finally a surprising version by Guido Farina for solo piano.

From Vivaldi, Dmitriev takes us on to the 19th century with 2 great composers - Paganini and Liszt - with the remarkable Campanella, already for some time in the accordion repertoire. Symbolic in this case, the synthesis evoked by the story of the piece and performed by the instrument: it being in one part a keyboard instrument (inheriting a little piano technique) and another part a lyrical instrument (assimilating the expressiveness of the violin).

The other pieces in the program are all from the 1900's. From Zolotariev's remarkable Sonata No. 3 (one of this composers most intense and difficult pieces), to the characteristic Suite in 4 parts (Polka, Balalaika, Music Box, Cuckoos) by Derbenko.

Towards the end Dmitriev wants to offer even the "chamber" (mono- instrumental) aspect of the accordion with the piece Very Difficult Work by the Belgian Flecijn, performed in duo with his son Vitalij (a most promising talent): and a personal arrangement of Piazolla's Adios nonino for 4 bayan in which the above duo is joined by Elena Dmitriev (wife of Alexander) and his student J. Idina.

The CD closes with the same piece with which it began, that is with a piece by the Polish accordionist and composer B. Precz (his interesting piece Preamble and Toccata is also included): the piece is Grafeld's Impression, a composition which Dmitriev should love, given that he has recorded a second version - at the end of the CD and dedicating it to memory of the prematurely deceased composer.

He uses electronic effects in addition to the original score, resulting in a "sci-fi" type effect. In fact it is difficult not to agree with Dmitriev, the piece (written in the traditional form A-B-A, with two very contrasting sections) contains the principal theme, which, with its dreamy expressiveness, is to be considered (at least in this writer's personal opinion) one of the most fascinating pieces ever written for the accordion.

Review by Alessandro Mugnoz

This CD is available from the artists site on - Listen to Sound tracks online. Order by credit card using a secure server bank system.

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