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CD: Crotchet

À Deux
Tango Loco
La Pirouette
À Deux
Singing Bird
Some Days
Seven 4
Sentiment Pour Le Beau
Valse Francaise
Histoire d'Amour

Klaus Paier (accordion, bandoneon) Asja Valcic (cello)
rec. Vienna 2008 
ACT 9478-2 [53:23] 
Experience Classicsonline

For those unhampered by the formal categorisation that runs throughout the music world this set by accordion and Bandoneon virtuoso Klaus Paier and the Croatian cellist Asja Valcic will come as a breath of fresh air. All the compositions are Paier’s and they follow a terpsichorean, reflective and wistful path through the highways of song, and interweave the two instruments with variations of colour, texture and mood. It adds up to a varied and richly evocative album,
We travel therefore from the terse, angular Tango Loco where the cello’s pizzicati emulate a walking bass and where the raps on the instrument’s body galvanize the music still further. Sinuous and balletic La Pirouette pursues a more Parisian objective whilst always skirting the mundane, the commonplace, the generic - a feature of the disc as a whole. Singing Bird is a throbbing dialogue with songful monologue-reveries from both musicians. The freshness of the tightly argued arrangements is ceaseless and the powerful commitment from both musicians equally so. Some Days is imbued with a certain tristesse and a yearning cello line. In outline it sounds rather filmic. It wouldn’t sound entirely out of place in the film scores of, say, the Czech Václav Trojan, who wrote so beautifully for accordion and whose Princ Bajaja it slightly resembles – entirely fortuitously.
Argentino is a strongly accented tango whilst there are Eastern European hues throughout Seven 4. The cello invokes baroque-sounding devices in Menuet, and it’s a credit to the arrangements and to the tenor of the album that these do not sound out of place but perfectly part of the bloodstream of the music. Sentiment Pour Le Beau once more takes a rather static, Parisian approach rich in languor and reflectiveness whilst the aching Histoire d'Amour is, rightly, a study in ambiguity, and ends the disc on a note of indecision.
In an album which explores café longing as much as vibrant street life there are always unexpected things around the corner. The rhythmic profile of the music is always controlled but exciting, tensile yet yielding when necessary. The combination is adroit and often joyful. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Jonathan Woolf


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