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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


SONORITIES
Japanese Accordion Music.

Toshio HOSOKAWA
(born 1955) Melodia II. Melodia.
Hikaru HAYASHI
(born 1931) A Bee Crosses Over the Strait.
Maki ISHII
(born 1936) Lost Sounds II, Op. 33b. Tango-Prism, Op. 73.
Yuji TAKAHASHI
(born 1938) Like a Water-Buffalo.
Meiro SUGAWARA
(1897-1988) Capriccio Pastorale. Ruscello.
AYUO
(born 1960) Eurasian Tango - No. 1; No. 2; No. 5.
Mie Miki (accordion).
Recorded at Länna Church, Sweden in May 2000.
BIS CD-1144
[DDD] [79.03]
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Hosokawa's Melodia II was originally written in 1977 as a piano work, and revised in 1979. This arrangement for accordion, by the featured soloist, Mie Miki, is authorized by the composer. Very effective it is, too: from the opening sound (so like a clarinet) throughout its slow-moving, hypnotic nine-minute duration it weaves a pentatonic spell which sets the tone for the rest of the disc.

It is certainly to be hoped that this disc means people listen to the accordion in a new light: the variety of tone contained on this disc is remarkable. The title Melodia refers to 'the never ending stream of sounds in our soul', rather than any melody in the Western sense, and Hosokawa certainly uses the registral device of contrasting higher notes against the 'sinister' lower register effectively and individually.

Hikaru Hikashi's picturesquely-titled A Bee Crosses Over the Strait suffers from the disadvantage of undeniable tedium. Eminently forgettable. Far more interesting are the pieces by Maki Ishii (whose ballet, Kaguyahime, has just been released on Arthaus DVD 100162). Lost Sounds II features glacial pre-recorded tape sounds over which the accordion narrates and comments. Tango-Prism (1987) does exactly what the title says, viewing the Western dance form through a distortional mirror.

The experience of Takahasi's Like a Water-Buffalo is heightened by Miki's reading of the poem in Japanese which inspired the piece immediately before the composition itself,. Sugawara's Capriccio Pastorale (inspired by Frescobaldi) is charming. Ruscello was composed with the idea of using it as an encore after a performance of his Accordion Concerto, but, as the sleeve notes say, 'things did not go to plan' and Ruscello had to wait rather a long time for its first performance.' It is, however, a dextrous study which Miki plays charmingly. The excerpts from Ayuo's Eurasian Tango are stimulating: the final piece acts as a fun ending to the disc.

Mie Miki's belief in this repertoire shines through her playing. Little of this music is of ground-breaking originality, but this disc does represent a journey into relatively uncharted waters.
Colin Clarke

See also review by Peter Grahame Woolf




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