ALBUM TITLE: Abrahamsen * Sørensen
WORKS: Abrahamsen: Air; Three Little Nocturnes; Sørensen: It is a Pain Flowing Down Slowly on a White Wall; Sigrid’s Lullaby
PERFORMER: Frode Haltli (accordion); Trondheim Soloists; Arditti Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: ECM 481 2802
Whatever its folk credentials, the accordion has also long attracted the attention of classical composers: Tchaikovsky, Hindemith and Berg all wrote for it. This arresting disc presents works by contemporary Danish composers, and showcases the exceptional talent of Norwegian accordionist, Frode Haltli.
The pairing of strings and accordion proves a glorious combination and the disc’s two ensemble works are much the most affecting. While the accordion can hold its own as a solo voice, it can also creep almost imperceptibly among string textures, subtly shifting the ensemble’s timbre to mesmeric effect. Bent Sørensen’s one-movement concerto for accordion and string orchestra, It is Pain Flowing Down Slowly on a White Wall, makes magical use of these elusive overlaps of tone colour in a powerfully moving work.
Hans Abrahamsen’s Three Little Nocturnes (2008) sees Haltli joined by the Arditti Quartet (on particularly radiant form). These precise, glimmering miniatures make vivid use of string harmonics and, in the whirling central movement, draw wickedly on the accordion’s traditional soundworld with its ‘oom-pah-pah’ figuration.
Two other works for accordion alone further explore the instrument’s capacity for harmonic complexity and haunting expression, completing this excellent introduction to a subtle and versatile instrument.