9221.jpeVirtuoso Accordion. HAAPAMí„KI: Power; TIENSUU: Aufschwung, Zolo; ZUBITSKY: Carpathian Suite; SCIARRINO: Vagabonde blu; GRISEY: Passacaille; LINDBERG: Jeux d’anches. Mikko Luoma, accordion. Bridge 9221. 66 minutes.

I mentioned to a friend that I had been sent this disc for review. The response: “Did you draw the short straw?” The question was understandable, given the accordion’s image, at least in the United States. The pieces on this disc, and Mikko Luoma’s performance of them, could go a long way towards revising that view, given enough exposure.

Mr. Luoma is a remarkable performer, coaxing an amazing variety of sounds and texture out of the accordion. The pieces on the disc, while all virtuosic, cover a considerable stylistic range as well, allowing Mr. Luoma to display versatility as well as virtuosity.

Sampo Haapamí¤ki’s Power is a fine opener, a lively essay in movement and, well, power. Jukka Tiensuu is represented with two pieces written 25 years apart. Aufschwung (1977) and Zolo (2002) illustrate the Finnish composer’s development and growing mastery of his materials, with convincing harmonies and a good sense of structure.

Vladimir Zubitsky’s Carpathian Suite probably comes the closest to what we tend to think of as “accordion music” on the program, with its references to folk materials and its dance rhythms. It’s an energetic and expressive work.

Gerard Grisey’s Passacaille and Jeux d’anches, by Grisey student Magnus Lindberg, are colorful pieces full of late Modern rhetoric and harmony, with a hint of spectralism. Salvatore Sciarrino’s Vagabonde blu is quietly forceful. The composer avails himself of all of the resources of the instrument and produces a compelling musical statement.

Bridge has performed yet another service to our music with its release of this unusual and very good disc.

2 Responses to “Virtuoso Accordion”
  1. Well, this looks good! I know the feeling – I got many snickers (not the candy!) from colleagues when I mentioned my piece for accordion. Now I want to write more!

    Maybe I should call dibs on the next accordion CD. In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for this one.

  2. Marie Cogbill says:

    Will Americans ever get over treating the accordion as some kind of joke? (Thanks a lot, Johnny Carson.) it’s beautiful & versatile instrument. It can be played beautifully or very badly, like any other instrument. Stylistically there is no “accordion music” any more than there is (stylistically) piano music or trumpet music. People should not scoff about things of which they know little or nothing. People in other parts of the world know better.

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