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Pourquoi, Madame?
Georges BOULANGER (1893-1958) Afrika (Slow Serenade) [3:53]; Max und Moritz [2:52]; Torero (Tango) [3:22]; Mein Herz (Tango-Serenade) [2:19]; Krach Csárdás [2:19]; Flageolett-Walzer Nr. 1 [2:07]; Tokay [2:48]; Pizzicato-Walzer [2:02]; Pourqui, Madame? [2:37]; Zigeunerständchen (Geigen-Polka) [2:53]; Zufriedenheit (Träumerischer-Walzer) [3:23]; Ungarischer Tanz [3:24]; Hora Mare [2:29]; Grigoras DINICU (1889-1949) Hora Martisorului [2:01]; Jupp SCHMITZ (1901-1991) Tango, du bist doch meine Lieblingsmusik [3:03]; Ludwig SCHMIDSEDER (1904-1971) Was ein Zigeuner fült (Ungarische Romanze) [3:22]; Oskar NEBDAL (1874-1930) Valse Triste [4:47]; Vittorio MONTI (1868-1922) Csárdás [3:36]; Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Mariska (Lied und Csárdás) [3:50]; Gustl EDELMANN (1910-1955) Ungarische Heimat [2:31]; Seress REZSÖ (1899-1968) Einsamer Sonntag (Zigeunerromanze) [2:05]; Jo KNÜMANN Rumänisch [3:56] Trad arr. Wiesław Pipczynski Bessarabische Hora [2:36]
Prima Carezza (Michaela Paetsch-Neftal and Klaus Neftal (violins); Wiesław Pipczynski (accordion))
rec. Hotel Waldhaus Sils-Maria/Engadin, no date given by reviewer
TUDOR 7160 CD [69:24]
Experience Classicsonline

The French title of this disc together with the name of the main composer here – Georges Boulanger – may lead you to expect music from some French salon of the early twentieth century. However, do not be misled. The title is simply that of one of the pieces and I have no idea of the purpose of the question. The composer was unrelated to the much better known Nadia, Lili or Ernest. Indeed the surname was simply adopted by him in place of his real name of Pantazi. He was born in Roumania and apparently devoted his life to salon music. I understand that this is the third CD of his music recorded by Prima Carezza on Tudor. I have not heard the others but certainly the quality of the pieces here gives no impression of scraping a barrel.

Bearing in mind the limited instrumental resources available here, there is remarkable variety of mood and sound. Boulanger’s pieces range from those obviously related to East European folk music, to tangos and waltzes, as well as a few pure salon charmers like the very catchy “Max und Moritz” and the quaint “Flageolett-Walzer Nr. 1”. Each makes its point succinctly and precisely, leaving one wanting more – a very desirable but surprisingly rare quality in much light music.

There are also a few pieces by better known composers, including Lehár and Nedbal, although the best known music here is the inevitable Csárdás by Monti. It is good to hear this played on the violin again – its composer was an Italian violinist who copied to perfection all the expected gestures of Hungarian gypsy music here. All too often in recent years it has been played as a kind of novelty item on a strange variety of instruments but here it comes up as fresh as ever, and thoroughly enjoyable it proves too.

The three artists here are clearly used to playing together, and much of the music has been arranged by or for them. The accordion is of a surprising variety of textures and effects but always makes a very positive impression. The panache with which all of the players approach the music is also very impressive. This may not be a disc for the musical puritan or anyone lacking a sweet tooth, but the rest of us can play this and imagine we are fortunate enough to be in the Hotel Waldhaus where it was recorded and where hearing Prima Carezza is a highlight of our holiday.

John Sheppard


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