Winter Sketches
Fantasy on Oi da, Snowball Tree (arr. Ivan Yakovlevich Panitsky)
Two Russian Folk Songs (arr. Pyotr Petrovich Londonov)
Vladislav SOLOTARYOV (1942-1975)
Chamber Suite
Albin REPNIKOV (1932-2007)
Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Russian Dance; Nocturne (arr. Bjarke Mogensen)
Vyacheslav SEMYONOV (b.1946)
Kalina Krasnaya
Modest Petrovich MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
In the Village (arr. Bjarke Mogensen)
Sergey Sergeyevich PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
March; Scherzo
Alexander Na Yun KIN (b.1954)
Fantasy on Two Russian Themes
Ei Ukhnem! (arr. Vyacheslav Gerasimovich Chernikov)
Anatoly Ivanovich KUSYAKOV (1945-2007)
Winter Sketches
Bjarke Mogensen (accordion)
rec. Studiescenen, Royal Academy of Music, Copeehagen, Denmark, 1 December 2009, 2 March 2010.
ORCHID CLASSICS ORC 100015 [63:19]
The Bayan is the Russian name for the accordion. The instrument - so we are told - is intimately linked with the Russian folk traditions - music and tales. Bjarke Mogensen (see his website) - who writes the liner-note is the soloist. He takes us on a tour through the Russian repertoire and avoids Captain Pugwash reefs.

The Panitsky arrangement of the Fantasy on Oi da Snowball Tree reeks of the same material as the song that underlies Glazunov's Stepan Razin - sonorous and soulful. The two Londonov folksongs are more of a street-scene busk though subtle enough and reverential in the case of the second of them. Solotaryov is a major figure in the world of the Bayan. Google him and you will find some major fantastic works with orchestra. His Chamber Suite is a romantic sequence with echoes of old Russian disrupted by more knowing 20th century references as in the finale Snowfall at Night. Repnikov's Capriccio moves between night club novelty and jolly fantasy. Mogensen's Tchaikand Prokofiev arrangements are skilled and subtle - nothing of the circus or of melodrama. Semyonov's Kalina Krasnaya takes us back to sweetly haunting nostalgic realms but as if crossed with a Stokowski-Bach transcription. Alexander Na Yun Kin is a distinguished bayan player from Saratov. He makes jocular sport of folk tunes of the region. After a very long pause comes Chernikov's El Ukhnemi - The Song of the Volga Boatmen with bass boots deep.

Anatoly Kusyakov's Winter Sketches give the anthology its title. Its romantic movement names are completely au fait with the musical substance. We can surely revel in these vivid folksy pictures: Ice-flowers on the window pane, Troika is a vigorous eye-flashing dance, Evening Gathering is scrunchingly cheery and convivial, Northern wind suggests swirling snowstorms and here at least one can hear the finger key-mechanism, Bylina is nostalgic and a perfect foil to the fleet-foot train rhythm Easter Fair jollities of Springtime Festivities. It's a tour de force and genuinely exciting. Kusyakov like Repnikov has written extensively for the Bayan.

It would be good to hear some of the works for bayan and orchestra mentioned by Mogensen in his wide-ranging notes. The recent Naxos CD of Gubaidulina’s music for bayan and orchestra makes a good start. This recording was made with the generous support of the Danish Arts Council.
Rob Barnett
Fantasy and nostalgia.