The Free-Reed Review
Critiques of Compact Discs, Books and Music Scores
CD Review: Angel Luis Castaño
Musique pour Accordeon
total time: 52:45
label: self produced
Angel Luis Castaño
Angel Luis Castaño, accordion
Review by Henry Doktorski:
It is always a pleasure for me to listen to an entire CD of original compositions for accordion, especially when the album features the works of one composer; this seems to mean, to me at least, that the composer really enjoys writing for the accordion and feels that the instrument has something valuable to contribute as a means of musical expression. Just as Beethoven and Liszt felt a special affinity for the piano and wrote many works for that instrument, I think that Patrick Busseuil has a special affinity for the accordion.
Although he has written music for orchestra and chamber ensembles (and has one CD to his credit devoted exclusively to chamber music) Busseuil has written a substantial number of compositions for accordion. He wrote, "Writing for accordion has always had a special place in my output as a composer. With the aim in mind of extending the repertory, whether for concert or teaching purposes, it was important to be both eclectic and open-minded."
I dare say that Busseuil writes very well for the accordion and utilizes a great range of the instrument's abilities; this CD is VERY interesting to listen to! In addition, I believe this CD will be appreciated by most classical music lovers; as Busseuil's style is for the most part pleasant and tonal (even jazzy), as contrasted with much classical contemporary music.
Case in point: this weekend I play harpsichord with the Pittsburgh Symphony in three performances of Alfred Schnittke's Concerto for Viola and I must report that overall the piece is very dark, heavy and dissonant.
(Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you, as fine art—like life—sometimes expresses fearful and despondent emotions. Schnittke himself wrote, "the music took on the character of a sad overview of life on the threshold of death." I appreciate Schnittke's concerto, but I think it might have a tendency to make the audience somewhat depressed.)
I don't believe that a listener will be depressed by Busseuil's CD, however. His music can be dramatic (and dissonant for that matter) but it left me with a good feeling; the dissonances resolve; the music has a happy ending. Sometimes his music is even downright funny! Parts of Mobile 85 reminded me of a dancing clown, rather petroushka-esque, I would say. And the children's suite Petit safari has it's share of humor as it depicts an excursion to the zoo and the animals there, such as the ant-eater, the zebra, the lemurian, the crested crane, the seagull and the young gazelle.
Castaño performs beautifully on this CD, the second I have reviewed for The Free-Reed Review. (His first CD was titled Musika Kontenporaneoa Akordeoia (1992) and featured works by Gubaidulina, Nordheim and Takahashi.)
Busseuil teaches composition and accordion at the Ecole Nationale de Romans and Castaño teaches accordion for the Spanish Education Ministry at the Conservatory of Segovia.
I have no complaints about Busseuil's music, Castaño's playing or the sound quality of the recording—I only have praise—but I do have a major complaint about the CD booklet notes, written in French, Spanish and English: the English translations are terrible! They are also terribly funny, as I think you will find when you read this quote by Castaño who attempts to praise Busseuil, but actually accomplishes the opposite: "Besides the friendship I share for the man, . . . "
Later, Castaño accidentally shows his knowledge of computers, "[Busseuil's compositions range] from pieces for children to concert pieces of a decidedly modem style. . . "
Please forgive me! :) Angel and Patrick, but I just HAD to share these typos with our readers, these mistakes are so precious. If it is any consolation, I humbly volunteer to edit the English translations for your next CD!
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