Works for Classical Accordion
Geir Draugsvoll, accordion
Lise-Lotte Nielsen, soprano
Soren Kaas Claeson, violin
Ejnar Kanding: Winter Darkness
Leif Kayser: Selections from Confetti:
total time: 57:27
label: dacapo (8.224028)
Distributed by: MVD Music and Video Distribution GmbH
Oberweg 21C-Halle V
Review by Henry Doktorski:
Although Geir Draugsvoll is only thirty years old this year (born in Voss, Norway in 1967), he has already made an indelible impression on the Scandinavian classical music world since completing his studies at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in 1992 with Mogens Ellegard.
In a review of Draugsvoll's conservatory debut in 1992, the Danish music critic Peter Woetman wrote in the newspaper Berlingske Tidende that he is "a musician of poetry. He has a way of using total concentration to penetrate the music of silence. The music is set forth as if from a distant world, gentle and crisp, and takes on form, is brought to life, through lines constructed by way of the most subtle control over the weight and dynamics of every single note. He can make his instrument sing quietly with the music surrounded by a glow of its own. At the same time, the virtuosity of his playing is incredible; the music flows lightly across foundation pillars of rhythm and sound control, so much so that in the end everything falls assuredly into place. At times it is so brilliant that one loses one's breath."
I cannot say it any better than Woetman; Draugsvoll is a master musician. He breathes life into these difficult contemporary works and helps make these pieces more accessible to listeners.
This CD features some of the accordion works of contemporary Danish composers.
Confetti is a set if fifteen pieces selected from the composer's works for accordion which were commissioned by the Danish Accordeon Teacher's Association. The pieces are didactic and may be performed separately or combined in short suites. Some are more difficult than others and range from a gentle adagio to a a peppy allegretto. All are contrapuntal.
A Dirge: "Other Echoes Inhabit The Garden" is a extremely mathematical contrapuntal piece which many changing time signatures and sophisticated ratios, such as four against seven, six against five, etc. The work is a solo accordion version of a concerto for accordion and orchestra written for Geir Draugsvoll and dedicated to the memory of Morton Feldman. The title comes from a text by T.S. Eliot.
Troglodyte is an interesting contemporary piece of program music (of only four pages) which alternates between rapid bird-like motives and gentle diatonic/quartal chords. The composer wrote in the program notes: "The art of inclusion will often be the art of omission. The art consists in leaving things out. This art finds its extreme expression in the troglodyte or hermit. Solitary meditation in the wilderness. Troglodytes is also the name of a bird, the wren. It is one of the smallest and slightest of birds."
Cadenza is based on the harmonic material in Jorgensen's concerto -- Temperature -- for accordion and chamber orchestra and was written for Geir Draugsvoll. Instead of using traditional terms like introduction, construction, condensation, expansion, coda, etc. the composer uses expressive guidelines like zero-point, thaw, overheating, acute freeze, permafrost, etc. The work begins with a senza misura pppp e', which is rapidly repeated some 72 times, before departing and has a pointillistic flavor.
... I've never seen a Butterfly here ..., a song cycle for soprano, violin and accordion, is based on texts written during World War II by children and adolescents in the Nazi extermination camp at Teresienstadt. The fours songs depict 1) a boy who walks around in the garden but one day is gone, 2) an old man who tries to imagine himself in another time and place, 3) the last memories of a butterfly fluttering free and 4) a tragic attempt to defy death by madness.
The CD booklet notes, which are informative and well written, are printed in English, German and Danish. I recommend this CD for all lovers of contemporary music.
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