The Free-Reed Review
Critiques of Compact Discs, Books and Music Scores

CD Review: Various Artists, including composer/accordionist Guy Klucevsek

CD Image

total time: 68:40
released: 1994

label: CRI (Composers Recordings Inc.)
72 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012-5800
phone: 212 941 9673
fax: 212 941 9704

The Composer-Performer: Forty Years of Discovery (1954-1994)


  • Henry Cowell: Aeolian Harp (1923); The Banshee (1925)
  • Harry Partch: The Letter (1943)
  • Irving Fine: Waltz-Gavotte from Music for Piano (1947)
  • Otto Luening: Fantasy in Space for tape recorder (1952)
  • Robert Helps: Image (1957)
  • Virgil Thomson: Praises and Prayers (1963)
  • William Albright: Fanfare from OrganBook (1967)
  • George Walker: Spatials, variations for piano (1960)
  • Harvey Sollberger: Divertimento for flute, cello and piano (1970)
  • Curtis Curtis-Smith: Five Sonorous Inventions (1973)
  • Ned Rorem: The Nantucket Songs (1979)
  • Joan Tower: Petroushskates (1980)
  • Guy Klucevsek: Samba D Hiccup (1986)
  • Michael Gordon: Strange Quiet part 1 (1987)
  • Victoria Jordanova: Requiem for Bosnia (1993)
  • Tan Dun: Nine Songs Ritual Opera "Water Spirit" (1989)
  • Alice Shields: Apocalypse, an electronic opera (1993)

Review by Henry Doktorski:

Although most classical accordionists are aware of Guy Klucevsek's stature as an accordion performer, how many of us are aware of his stature as a composer? This disc from CRI will shed light to us "accordionists" on exactly what high regard the new music establishment has for Mr. Klucevsek as a composer.

Composers Recordings Inc. is America's premiere recording label dedicated to contemporary, primarily American music. CRI was founded in 1954 by composers Otto Luening and Douglas Moore, both of Columbia University, and the arts administrator Oliver Daniel, formerly of CBS radio. In 1976 CRI became the nation's first nonprofit, tax-exempt recording company and in 1980 it received one of the first three recording and distribution grants to be awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

A 1987 citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters stated that CRI "has recorded more American music and for a longer time than any other recording company in the world." Over 500 full-length recordings have been released by CRI, representing well over 1,000 compositions in all styles and genres, all of which are in print. This disc is the CRI 40th anniversary retrospective and therefore contains a sampling of their catalog from 1954 to 1994.

I cannot stress the importance of this CD and the great honor it represents for a composer or performer to be selected to appear on this 40th anniversary release. It is a great tribute for Guy Klucevsek in particular and for the accordion in general to be recognized by Composers Recordings Inc. and to be included in this album along with truly monumental works such as Henry Cowell's "The Banshee," Harry Partch's "The Letter," Otto Luening's "Fantasy in Space," etc.

Guy's contribution to the album is his solo accordion work "Samba D Hiccup" from his solo CRI CD Manhattan Cascade, a traditional-tonality unpretentious piece for stradella-bass (oom-pah-pah left-hand) accordion with lively syncopated rhythms.

Joseph R. Dalton, managing director for CRI, wrote in the CD booklet, "Composer/accordionist Guy Klucevsek has been acclaimed for single-handedly commissioning and premiering a new body of repertoire for his instrument. His solo disc "Manhattan Cascade" includes four new polkas and other commissioned works from classical, experimental, and jazz composers as well as Klucevsek's eloquent Samba D Hiccup ."

Not only that, but Mr. Klucevsek's photo appears in the booklet with the following caption: "Guy Klucevsek, a leader among a new generation of composer/performers."

This CD is truly a significant album for the accordion. My congratulations to you, Mr. Klucevsek!

Comment from Mr. Klucevsek

Dear Henry,

Thank you for the kind words in regards to the CRI Composer/Performer recording.

Actually, "Samba D Hiccup" has an interesting history: while touring Europe with John Zorn's "Cobra" big band in 1985, Arto Lindsay, who grew up in Brazil, played me some tapes of the Brazilian forro composer/accordionist/singer Dominguinhos, which knocked my socks off. This predated David Byrne's release of forro music (accordion-driven pop music from the northeast corner of Brazil) and before most people had ever heard of that term.

As soon as I returned home from the tour, I dove into composing what eventually became "Samba D Hiccup," inspired by those wonderful tapes. The title is a deliberate misnomer, since I'm a bad boy at heart: forro is the "non-samba" music of Brazil, but I just couldn't resist the pun of the title, suggested by all the "hocketting" (hiccups) in the center of the piece.


Guy K.

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