S'il Vous Plaît: Virtuoso Miniatures on the Accordion
Louis-Claude DAQUIN (1694-1772) Le Coucou (1735) [1:40]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Rigaudon I and II (1724) [1:16]
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Essercizio in C minor, K.11 [2:40]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Harmonious Blacksmith [4:46]
Wolfgang JACOBI (1894-1972) Sérénade [3:37]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Moment Musical in F minor, D780 no.3 [1:46];
Moment Musical in F minor, D780 no.5 [2:32]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, op.122 no.8
Jacques IBERT (1890-1962) Le Vieux Mendiant [2:22]; Le Petit âne
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Tango [2:58]
Philip GLASS (b.1937) Modern Love Waltz [1:49]
André ROQUES (b.1923) & André ASTIER (1923-1994) Miss Karting [2:08]
Joë ROSSI (1922-1994) & André ASTIER (1923-1994) Novelty Polka
Michel LEGRAND (b.1932) Les Parapluies de Cherbourg [4:10]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (b.1932) S.V.P. (S’il Vous Plaît) [2:44]; Chiquilín
de Bachín [3:52]; Chau Paris [2:46]; La Bicicleta Blanca [4:46]
Edward CONFREY (1895-1971) Dizzy Fingers [1:44]
John ZORN (b.1953) Road Runner [5:04]
Michal Kleofas OGINSKI (1765-1833) Polonaise in A minor, 'Farewell
to the Fatherland' [3:28]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Farewell Waltz [2:24]
Mie Miki (accordion)
rec. Länna Church, Sweden, October 2009. DDD
This is the second solo CD released on BIS by Japanese accordionist Mie Miki,
and the first for ten years (see review of last one here).
Even more so than the first, this disc is a showcase for Miki's amazing talent.
Who the composers are almost ceases to matter, because Miki in most cases
shapes their music - already transcribed and chopped into three minute chunks
- into something else, from another time and place, with her fantastically
versatile instrument and flawless technique.
The four Baroque works on this disc, for example - by Daquin, Rameau, Domenico
Scarlatti and Handel - are all magically transformed into beautiful pieces
of folk music by the accordion: the first three from some romantic corner
of eastern Europe, the Handel from somewhere in rural England. On the other
hand, Michal Oginski's Polonaise, subtitled 'Farewell to the Fatherland',
is a genuine, and attractive, example of folk music made into art.
Only Schubert, in the two Moments Musicals just about retains his personality
- perhaps because of the folksong-like nature of many of his lieder. Brahms's
Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, from his 11 Choral Preludes for organ, sounds
if anything even more beautiful on the accordion, reminiscent almost of a
nostalgic campfire tune played by a homesick musical cowboy on a mouth organ!
Miki's enchanted fingers even have the ability to transform sows' ears into
silk purses. For example, Michel Legrand's rather clichéd film music, Les
Parapluies de Cherbourg, is turned into a work of surprising pathos. On the
other hand, Philip Glass's totally insipid Modern Love Waltz is beyond even
This CD is subtitled 'Virtuosic Miniatures', but though all the pieces are
diminutive, they are not always strictly virtuosic. But the variations in
Handel's The Harmonious Blacksmith certainly are, and Edward Confrey's fleeting
Dizzy Fingers lives up to its name. John Zorn's Road Runner, an original work
for accordion, is outrageously virtuosic and also just plain outrageous -
the piece sounds like someone trying to murder an accordion while it fights
back by trying to belt out tunes suggested by passers-by. Miki has probably
played it as an encore many a time.
The best music on the disc comes, hardly surprisingly, from Astor Piazzolla.
Piazzolla's faults rarely lie in his compositional abilities, but rather in
his taste as an arranger of his own music, as anyone familiar with his Nuevo
Tango ensembles can testify. Here, with Miki's unerring musicianship behind
him, the impassioned, melancholic nature of Piazzolla's imaginative writing
is released from the shackles of gaudy arrangement. Chiquilín de Bachín is
particularly haunting, and in La Bicicleta Blanca the story of a whole life
is told in less than five minutes.
As usual with BIS, sound quality is outstanding in every respect. The CD booklet
leaves rather more to be desired - no notes at all about the composers or
arrangers (if mentioned at all), nor about the pieces Miki plays, not even
about the transcriptions themselves, which most of the works clearly are.
Yet absurdly, the sheet music publisher is often named - almost entirely irrelevant
as far as arrangements are concerned.
Nevertheless, no one should let these shortcomings serve as an excuse for
not luxuriating in Mie Miki's magnificent musicality and the unique sonorities
of the beautifully passionate instrument at her command.
Magnificent musicality … unique sonorities … beautifully passionate.