01 April 2012
DaCapo's disk of accordion concertos is fascinating. Danish composer Ole Schmidt (1928-2010) disliked the accordion intensely until he met Mogens Ellegaard, a virtuoso player of the instrument. He then decided to write his Symphonic Fantasy and Allegro
for Ellegaard, collaborating with the soloist so he could explore the accordion's full potential of sound. The premiere shocked many Danish audiences as they thought the accordion was just for "pop" and dance music, but they soon came around and recognized its effectiveness in more serious music. In all of the music on this SACD there is a touch of humor and whimsy. Anders Koppel's Piccolo concerto
is so labeled because it is written for a high "piccolo" register of the instrument and because the orchestra consists only of strings. Martin Lohse (b. 1971) wrote his In Liquid...
for Mogensen and it, like all the other works on the CD, contains a cadenza with much improvisation. Per Norgard (b. 1932) was influenced by Balkan folk music when he wrote Recall
for Danish accordion virtuoso Lars Bjarne; there are three movements ending with a lively Rondino. Performances are expert, the "surround sound" isn't particularly "surround," but adequate. It's unfortunate the SACD doesn't contain some other performances by Mogensen—with a playing time of well less than an hour, there's plenty of room. If you;re looking for something different, try this.