“New Colours of the Past”

Review by Adrian Quanjer (HRAudio.net)

From time to time something unusual comes my way. Accordion and saxophone are, with some notable exceptions, not usually associated with classical music. Reason to listen with my ears wide open.

The first thing one notices is that we have here two outstanding virtuosi of Polish and Serbian origin, knowing their instruments through and through. The second thing is that the combination works wonderfully well, although I have a preference for the soprano instead of the alto & accordion (De Falla). The third thing is the all-embracing flexibility of the accordion, allowing for transcriptions to be as realistic as possible.

I’m aware of the fact that it needs some courage on the part of the average record buyer to spend hard earned cash on something one doesn’t really know much about and that the temptation easily points to yet another Bach or Mozart recording. However, they would be well advised to browse available YouTube samples. The result may be unexpected and quite astonishing. Watching and listening to these young talents is absolutely out of this world.

For reasons one might easily understand, the Romanian Folk Dances of Béla Bartòk, sound as though you are listening to the original. For me, this is one of the best moments of this disk. De Falla, too, sounds as though it was meant this way. In the case of the oldies, like Händel (sonata keyboard and recorder or violin) and Bach (French suite for harpsichord) the transcription damages in no way the original score; even in Vivaldi (flute concerto) where the accordion replaces the orchestra, the result is engaging. For Berg and Penderecki the clarinet is replaced by the soprano sax. In Piazzolla the original instrument were the violin and the guitar.

Sound wise the recording is up to the high ARS-Produktion standard, and I would urge adventurous music lovers to discover this Duo. One doesn’t need to listen to all of it in one go. Make your choice, dependent on your mood or whatever. There is enough variation for different tastes. The only quibble I have is that there is no mention in the liner notes about the original scoring, but different search engines will help you out.

Review by Adrian Quanjer (HRAudio.net)