The Free-Reed Review
Critiques of Compact Discs, Books and Music Scores
CD Review of Coupe Mondiale 1988
total time: 58:37
label: Hohner Records, Best.-Nr.:
Eric Pacal, Georges Bouvelle, Hubert Deuringer,
Duet Klaus Bruder (accordions) and Florian Henschel (bass),
Balerdi Iztueta Garbine, Merzhausener Accordion-Ensemble,
Orch. des Hohner Konservatoriums, Trossingen
Coupe Mondiale 1988
Review by Robert Berta:
This recording is of the top prize winners in the Coupe Mondiale competition of 1988. The CD liner is simple and easy to read (this is becoming a big issue with many CDs I review) and has all the information required. The sound quality of this CD is excellent. Even though this was recorded during a live competition the attention to mike selection, processing of the sound and overall balance proved to be of the highest order. Of all the selections on this CD I particularly enjoyed the Prelude and Fugue on B A C H by Liszt played with passion and accuracy by the Merzhausener Accordion-ensemble. The Liszt selection is a great organ piece and I am well acquainted with it having performed it on pipe organ a few years ago myself. The sensitivity to the composition and effective use of the various accordion parts to emphasize the theme indicated a real understanding of what the composer intended...a tribute to J.S. Bach.
Another standout on this CD was the selection that Hubert Deuringer chose. This was the first time I heard the selection Deutsche Volkswaisen and I delighted in both the composition and the musical interpretation that Mr. Deuringer provided. This piece impressed me with its exploration of both the beauties of moving music and also provided plenty of technically demanding work for the performer which Hubert proved more than capable of rendering.
Also demanding my attention was the selection chosen by Balerdi Iztueta Garbine. The demanding Sonata by Semyonov can be a showpiece for a virtuoso or a disaster for those who are in over their head. I am a big fan of Prof. Semyonov, and I have heard some others attempt to perform his compositions and what resulted often does an injustice to a truly great composer and performer. While we are presented with a truly fine interpretation on this cut, this sonata is not the work of Semyonov, but that of Pouchkarenko! This is a pretty big gaffe for Hohner to have made and perpetuated for so long! My thanks to Sr. Castaño of Segovia, Spain for pointing out the discrepancy.
However, I thought that some of the solo selections on this CD tended to emphasize the accordion cliché: play as fast as you can and throw in some bellows shakes. I guess that still impresses judges, but too often this is done at the expense of a "musical" performance. In one case, the selection Take Five, I felt that the whole piece was improvised and used a lot of tricks like bellows shakes, vibrato, and note bending to the point of distraction and questionable taste. The selections by Eric Paxcal Georges Bouvelle were amazing feats of digital dexterity but I felt (along with others who listened) that all three selections were played far faster than appropriate.
Overall this is a very good recording and worth adding to your collection. You will be hard pressed to find a better sounding CD.
The Classical Free-Reed wishes to thank accordionist Angel Luis Castaño of Spain for pointing out an unfortunate error on the part of Hohner Records that we in turn perpetuated in our review:
Just writing to say that I read a review by Robert Berta of the Coupe Mondiale 1988 compact disk.
In it, he says that he is a big fan of Prof. Semyonow, and he speaks about how well the performer plays Semyonow's Sonata. He should know that there is a mistake in the CD. And it is not Semyonow's Sonata but POUCHKARENKO'S Sonata!
I thought you and Mr. Berta should know this in case you wish to change the review.
Angel Luis Castaño
Conservatorio de Música de Segovia
Plaza Conde Cheste, 8
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