13 May 2012
San Francisco Chronicle
How's this for an improbable turn of events: The most beautiful, dramatic and sheerly irresistible disc of new music to cross my desk in months is a compilation of four Scandinavian accordion concertos. Well, believe it. In lively, thoughtful performances by the remarkable Danish virtuoso Bjarke Mogensen, these pieces - two of them written for him - showcase the instrument's versatility and color. What's remarkable, too, is the way none of the composers here shies away from the accordion's various associations - the music here is at once modern and tuneful, rhythmic and comical. Ole Schmidt's Symphonic Fantasy and Allegro
(1958), for example, is frank about the instrument's circus overtones while joining that exuberance to the grittiness of Bartók, and Per Norgard's Recall
draws on ancient dance forms. The newer works are even more striking - Anders Koppel's Concerto Piccolo
begins with an eerie dreamscape that will give you chills, while Martin Lohse's In Liquid
covers a range of styles without abandoning its distinctive and forceful voice.