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CD Review: Janne Rättyä
Janne Rättyä, classical button accordion


Two and Three Part Inventions
Praeludium and Fugue in A Major
Praeludium and Fugue in F Minor

total time: 79:18
released: 2001
review date: April 2002

label: Castigo 02412

Carsten Storm
Satower Str. 56, 18059 Rostock

Review by Henry Doktorski:

The Bach Two and Three Part Inventions are staple pedagogical works for any budding pianist. By studying these pieces the musician develops great facility in playing scale passages, for instance. But the same can be said for Czerny or Hanon. But the Bach inventions are not simply technical exercises; they are great music showing ingenious craft.

Janne Rättyä not only reveals the ingenious craft of Bach's miniatures, he also reveals the great emotional expressiveness of Bach's little gems, for Rättyä is not simply a great technician of the accordion, he is a great artist. Although I have heard several accordionists perform these works, I like Rättyä performances best; he plays with sensitivity and aplomb. Perhaps his interpretations are slightly romanticized with the delicate rubato at the cadences and the dynamic variations throughout these pieces, but I believe he communicates the music with transparency; each piece is portrayed as a work of art.

Janne Rättyä was born in Finland in 1974. He studied with Heidi Velamo, Matti Rantanen and Mie Miki, and received a scholarship from the "Finnish Cultural Foundation", Wihuri Fondation and the Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienst. He won the first prize in "Arrasate Hiria"-competition in Spain in 1996. Concert tours have taken him to various countries in Europe and to Japan. Since 2000 he has been a lecturer at the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki and at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen.

Rättyä writes about Bach in the liner notes: "During his tenure as court director of music in Köthen Johann Sebastian Bach mainly produced instrumental music, including the first part of his Well-tempered Clavier and the Brandenburg Concertos. In 1720, he began work on a little piano book for his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Apart from other compositions from Bach´s own pen and works by his contemporaries this includes most of the two-part and three-part Inventions (BWV 772-801) assembled on this CD. Bach later revised these pieces, compiling a collection of his own in 1723.

"It was only in his later collection that Bach described the two-part pieces (originally Preludes) as Inventions and the three-part works (originally Fantasies) as Sinfonias. By choosing the name Invention, Bach surely wanted to emphasize the character of these pieces, which invariably evolve out of an Inventio, a single musical idea. Instead of the original sequence by Bach, I have chosen another (much later) established way to perform, which is based on the pairs of Invention and Sinfonia in the same key (Prelude and Fantasy!) and on the key relationship of these pairs. The set of 30 pieces can be seen as one work beginning by the C-major two-part Invention, which works as a model for the rest of the collection, and ending with the most important piece of all, the three-part Sinfonia in f-minor.

"And what does a classical accordion have to offer this great music? I can say that even though the universality of these works has at least been already proven by other instrumentalists and singers (in all possible combinations), the classical accordion can still offer a new perspective on these frequently played works."

This CD certainly deserves a prestigious place in the audio collection of every classical free reed lover.

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