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CD Review: Orgel und Akkordeon
Musik fon der Renaissance bis zur Romantik

Wolfgang Kleber, organ
Stefan Kutscher, accordion


Funf Satze aus der Handschrift des Wolfgana Kuffer
Konzert Nr. 4 F-dur: Friedrich Handel
[Concierto A-moll: P. Antonio Soler
Sonate D-moll op. 30: Gustafv Merkel
Beka-Roka, Csardas: Grock

total time: 50 min. and 51 sec.
released: 1997
review date: Dec. 2001

Order from: The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Online Gift Store

Review by Robert Karl Berta :

Besides playing accordion I also play organ of the electronic and pipe varieties.. classical and theatre. Although I have never had the opportunity to combine the accordion and Organ I always thought it would be an interesting combination. Since the earliest forms of the organ were reed organs there is a close family tie between the instruments. When I had the opportunity to review this recording I jumped at the chance.

Both instruments used on this recording are fine instruments with wonderful tone. The accordion is a fine Pigini piano accordion considered by many one of the finest accordions in the world. The organ is a fine pipe organ located in Germany in Pauluskirche Darnstadt. I was impressed with the various combinations and clear tone of the organ. An organ has ranks of pipes which give distinct sounds...this is similar to sets of reeds on an accordion. The selection of the various ranks and combinations is via stops which are similar in principle to the switches on an accordion. I was impressed with the recording quality which did a excellent job of capturing the sound of the organ and accordion so that one wasn't overpowering the other and the dialog between them was seamless rather than confrontational. I have many organ recordings and this ranks up there as one of the best recordings from a sonic standpoint. Most organ recordings just don't deliver....the magnificent sounds you would experience in a large church or concert hall are often killed by the recording engineers who don't seem to know what an organ sounds like and they seem intent on removing the very musical signature of an organ. Instead the organ sounds like it was playing through a cheap AM radio.

Perhaps the blending of the two instruments is my only criticism of the recording. The blending of the two instruments was so complete that often it was hard to determine that two instruments were playing. Perhaps a little more stereo separation of the two instruments might have helped. Also a little more dynamics that weren't in lock stop with each other would have helped... although to be fair the renaissance music part of the recording would not be faithful if it had strong dynamics.

But the real test of a recording for me is how many times I listen to it before doing a review. Let's just say that if this CD was a record it would probably be worn out by now. I loved this recording and found it kept finding its way back to my CD player over many other CDs. I never tired of the gorgeous music. The virtuoso performance made this an easy recording to listen to. I hadn't heard the first selections by Wolfgang Kutter before this and loved it. Later, the Handel selections were familiar and very satisfying performances. The only selection that seemed out of place was the last selection. When I heard it I felt like I had met an old friend. A member of my accordion club who recently moved here from Germany performed the same piece on accordion a couple of years ago at a club meeting. He is a fabulous accordionist and his performance of the selection was a delight and very memorable... as I recall it had something to do with a clown like character in Germany named Grock thus the title. While I loved hearing the selection again...I though it strange that it was included on a recording that included Romantic and Renaissance music. It didn't really fit into the rest of the recording and seemed like an afterthought. Sort of like a all Bach recording with a Slovenian polka thrown in at the end. This isn't to belittle the recording or the performance of the composition... which I think is terrific... just don't think it fit the rest of the music on the CD.

All in all though this is a great recording... you may not be an aficionado of pipe organs... but this recording is so good it might convince you there are instruments other than accordions ; - ) and the accordion performance is absolutely first rate.

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