Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b.1931)
Fachwerk for bayan, percussion and string orchestra (2009-11) [26:16]
Silenzio for bayan, violin and cello (1991) [19:38]
Geir Draugsvoll (bayan), Anders Loguin (percussion), Geir Inge Lotsberg (violin), Řyvind Gimse (cello)
Trondheim Symphony Orchestra Strings/Řyvind Gimse
rec. Kolstad Church, Trondheim, 28 Feb-4 Mar 2011. DDD
NAXOS 8.572772 [55:54]

Gubaidulina emerged onto the international stage as Perestroika gradually liberated artists and ideas.

Born in the Tatar Republic she studied with Grigory Kogan in the Kazan Conservatory. Later she worked with composition professors Nikolai Peiko and the much older Vissarion Shebalin. For many years now she has been a cosmopolitan voice celebrated on disc, at music festivals, quickly published and multiply commissioned. Her keynote works, at least in terms of exposure, are the Violin Concerto Offertorium and the Symphony Stimmen.

The music is much taken with exotic mysteries, ideas and texts - somewhat in the manner of Tavener though her music differs. The two pieces recorded here are part of a not large but noteworthy stream of modern works written for the bayan - the folk derived accordion. Fachwerk is dedicated to the player featured here who also premiered it in Amsterdam in 2009. The single movement 37 minute span suggests a mercurial and lapidary fairy tale. The music is accessible enough with rumbling, cajoling, howling, ululating and balladeering from both bayan and orchestra. It's a virtuoso display in the manner of The Firebird - the latest manifestation of the Russian folktale. The music glitters and rings. Then comes the five movement Silenzio. This is more internalised and reflective, severe and less endearing.

Draugsvoll - a pupil of Mogens Ellegaard - proves himself a most subtly facetted artist whose collaborations with composers of the stature of Gubaidulina have yielded rewards for both himself and the composers.

Draugsvoll and Gubaidulina are by no means alone in the field of concert music for bayan. Another bayan player, Friedrich Lips has been active with symphonic works by Solotarjov, Podgaits, Bronner and Berinsky.

Gubaidulina's two works for bayan prove much more than curiosities.

Rob Barnett

Gubaidulina's concert works for bayan prove much more than curiosities.