CD Review of Viva Voce by Friedrich Lips

Viva Voce
Friedrich Lips
15 November 2010
Viva Voce CD tracks
Viva Voce CD cover

Duo MARES - Volume Nuevo

Esra Pehlivanli (Viola) and Marko Kassl (Accordion).

The accordion has once again been shown in a remarkable light in this very fine first recording by the Duo MARES in 2010. The accordionist, Marko Kassl, is joined by an equally talented musician, Esra Pehlivanli, on viola.

It is somewhat rare, at least in my own experience, that these two instruments might be heard in a duo and it perhaps even more so for the two instruments to be played by such exceedingly well-matched musicians. This is a special CD and it is even more so because of the repertoire performed on it.

The six pieces are written especially for this duo by composers of the first rank and, although it is said their compositions are the first each of them has written for this particular combination of instruments, one would never know it. Every one of the six composers has captured some of the endless possibilities of both the accordion and the viola. While you will have your favorites among the six compositions, others may enjoy all of them equally well.

They offer repertoire which provides both serious and welcome additions to the chamber music repertoire available for the accordion. The pieces are easy to listen to as well as being musically entertaining, particularly among audiences more likely to be attendees and devotees of chamber music concerts. Each of the six pieces would be totally welcome on the increasingly large stage open for the accordion in chamber music throughout the world.

Marko Kassl and Esra Pehlivanli began their duo in 2004. Since that time they have made quite successful appearances, both as individuals and as Duo MARES, at some of Europe’s most well-known international music competitions and festivals. Their repertoire includes not only transcriptions of great works from the past but also original pieces for viola and accordion, some of which are included on this enjoyable CD. Marko teaches at the Detmold Academy of Music in Germany and Esra Pehlivanli teaches at the Ghent Conservatory in Belgium.

You will find many interesting and informative details about the performers and the composers of the repertoire featured on this CD in the well-written liner notes. These two young musicians are actively demonstrating the pursuit paths so necessary in today’s professional world of music. They not only are extremely talented and well-educated, they are building a large repertoire of both original and transcribed pieces, something which will also assist other musicians throughout the world.

The website for the duo is Marko Kassl may be reached at The sound production is very fine and the instruments sound real in all highs and lows of the dynamic, pitch, and tonal ranges, just as one might experience in a live performance close-up.

I recommend the CD very highly, especially for musicians searching for interesting new repertoire for both the accordion and the viola. You might also be interested in buying SPIELZEUG, a CD recorded in 2009 featuring Marko Kassl (accordion), Fie Schouten (clarinet, bass clarinet) and Koen Kaptijn (trombone).

Reviewed by Joan Cochran Sommers, February 2011.
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