Trio Solotarev


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Diehard fans of the avant-garde and the truly bizarre may find this CD of new accordion music provocative and entertaining, but others are likely to find it a perverse novelty item at best or utterly annoying at worst. For this 2003 release from Stradivarius, Trio Solotarev performs original works and arrangements of piano music for three bajans, and it is hard to deny the musicians' prodigious skills and abundant energy. Yet there is little to love about these performances of music by Ligeti, Schnittke, Tiensuu, Gubaydulina, and Kusjakov, for the range of timbres is limited and the tone in all the works is quite harsh and aggressive. Clusters and other thick dissonances dominate, and they sound either wheezy at soft dynamics or abrasive and nasty at their loudest. The greatest variety of colors are exploited in Gubaydulina's In croce, where the addition of a cello extends the sonic palette and contributes a deeper expressive dimension. Yet it is far from a pleasant experience: while its title refers merely to the crisscrossing of parts, the music is agonizing, and it is difficult to ignore the unintended but distressing implication of crucifixion. Stradivarius provides exceptional sound quality, but the vivid recording makes the music even more painful than it needs to be.

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