Gubaidulina, Zolotaryov, Jokinen

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Gubaidulina,Jokinen,Zolotaryov
LABELS: Black Box
WORKS: De profundis; Et exspecto
PERFORMER: David Farmer (accordion)
Sofia Gubaidulina’s works for accordion (actually the closely related Russian bayan) have become tolerably well known, and seem to mark a new stage in the history of writing for the instrument as a serious medium in contemporary music. It’s fascinating, though, to hear on this disc a work by Vladislav Zolotaryov, who worked with the virtuoso Friedrich Lips in advance of Gubaidulina and seems to have initiated the Russian drive to conjure new sounds and resources from the accordion and produce serious works for it in return. Zolotaryov killed himself at the age of 33: his Chamber Suite is a haunting collection of tonal but infinitely sad movements, with wayward repetitions and restless ostinati, not so much like Gubaidulina’s fierce and visionary clusters as the ironic sentimentality of some of Alfred Schnittke’s music. Erkki Jokinen’s Alone uses many of the new avant-garde playing techniques, but crisply and imaginatively; inevitably, though, it is Gubaidulina’s utter originality and burning religious conviction that dominate the disc. It is she, above all, who has made the accordion the musical voice of apocalypse. De profundis has recently been issued by ECM in a powerful interpretation by Elsbeth Moser, but David Farmer is equally impressive, has chosen unusual couplings and is captured in sound of superb presence. Calum MacDonald