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CD Review: Peter Soave
Pride and Passion: Volume 1
Peter Soave, bayan


Astor Piazzolla: Bordel 1900
Astor Piazzolla: Ave Maria
Joseph Haydn: Sonata in D, Hob. XVI: 37

Leon Boellmann: Gothic Suite Stanley Myers: Cavatina
Claude Bolling: Bach to Swing
Claude Bolling: Garnerama
Claude Bolling: a la Francaise
Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5

total time: 50:53
released: 1997

label: self published (PSJG6)

Review by Henry Doktorski:

Russia has Friedrich Lips and Vyatcheslav Semyonov, France has Max Bonnay and Richard Galliano, Germany has Steffan Hussong and Helmut Jacobs, Netherlands has Mini Dekkers, Denmark has Geir Draugsvoll and Canada has Joseph Petric and Joseph Macerollo. But in the United States, in my humble opinion, there is no contest: Peter Soave is the greatest accordionist in United States history. Period. No one comes close. Who else has the technique, the musicianship, the uncommon interpretive abilities? And who else concertizes and presents masterclasses around the world with such frequency? Others may have perhaps more recordings to their merit, but I think Peter has the greatest talent.

I first met Peter in 1990 when he was one of the judges at the American Accordionist's Musicological Society annual competition which I won first place in the virtuoso solo category. Later that day I heard him present an hour-long concert which literally changed my life: for the first time I heard what the free-bass accordion could sound like in the hands of a master. My eyes were opened to the beauty and grace and nobility and power of the concert accordion. At that time I purchased his LP titled Peter Soave -- Bajan Akkordeon and played it frequently on my stereo.

I often suggested that he record a CD, but for various reasons the time was not right yet; not until now. I have waited six years for this -- Peter's first CD -- but the wait is well worth it!

The program is calculated to appeal to all lovers of classical music; there are no heavy dissonant contemporary works -- only beautiful masterpieces ranging from the Classical and Romantic composers Haydn, Brahms and Boellmann to modern lyricists like Piazzolla (one of Peter's favorite composers), Bolling and Myers.

Besides being a world class performer (did I mention that Peter is the only player in history to win the gold medal in all four major world championship accordion competitions?) Peter is a fine arranger, as can be evidenced from listening to the two Piazzolla pieces and Myers' Cavatina.

As a music critic, I am expected to look for faults and report them to the reader, but in this case, my job was very difficult, as I had to search hard and long, and even then I couldn't find much worth reporting. In addition, it seemed strange to me to be judging Peter's playing, when six years ago it was he who was judging me! I have always looked up to him as a mentor.

Well, perhaps for the sake of argument, I could mention that Peter didn't follow any of the repeats in the Haydn sonata (the piece seems to end way too soon!), and I could mention the trills and turns at the ending of the first phrase of the theme of the Hadyn Finale as I think they sound a awkward without the F#; and I also could say that I thought that the accordion solo in the opening of the Bolling Garnerama could have been played with more emotion, more rubato, but these are for the most part interpretive opinions and don't mean much in comparison to the greatness of this album.

The CD booklet notes are expertly written by Dr. Paul Magistretti, a familiar contributor to The Bay Area Accordion Club Newsletter. On the three Bolling tracks Peter is joined by Billy Cairo on drums and Ralph Armstrong on electric bass. My special thanks to the Grijak family, who I assume provided funding to produce this CD.

My recommendation? Click on Peter's email address and order this CD right away! (and I can't wait for volume 2!)

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