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
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
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
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
CD is available from the artists site on MusicForAccordion.com
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