Revievs of CD: Grekow Jacek, classical accordion, Southern impressions
The lion’s share of the accordion repertoire is the transcriptions of music pieces originally composed for totally different instruments. When the accordion (a rather late creation of music culture) finally reinforced its valuable position there already existed vast concert literature of more than three centuries. The instrument proved to be extremely universal, sounding like the most exquisite baroque organ in Bach’s compositions as well as a silvery harpsichord in pieces by Jean-Philippe Rameau and Domenico Scarlatti. Jacek Grekow shows that even Spanish pieces, originally composed for the piano with some guitar tone traceable in them, sound well played by the accordion. What is more, while finishing his record with a hit of romantic violin art - Scherzo-Tarantella by Henryk Wieniawski, he seems to support the thesis that the accordion is a genuine chameleon among other instruments. One could quote here the words of professor Zbigniew Koźlik, an outstanding accordionist under whose supervision Jacek Grekow completed his studies: „…what is the accordion like? Unexploited range of colours, like the organ, the wind instrument or perhaps singing like the violin, generally assimilating to any instrument”.
As the title of Jacek Grekow’s album suggests, the music registered in it is in different ways connected with the South and more precisely with the mediterranean culture. The pieces from the first three tracks evoke the very essence of the Iberian climate. Erik Satie, an eccentric Frenchman composing pieces “in the shape of a pear”, in his first Gymnopedie alludes to the antique Sparta, where sports dances and gymnastic games were called gymnopedie.
Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonatas were created in the last twenty years of this Italian’s life, when he was working as a harpsichord player at the court in Madrid. Neither he nor the queen, playing his pieces with pleasure, could suspect that a quarter of a millennium later these pieces would gain such popularity with the accordion as well.
Italy is the country where both tarantella and toccata originated. That is why the only genuine accordion composition - Toccata by Danish composer Ole Schmidt, is seemingly of southern origin as well. The most southward piece in this album is L'Egyptienne by Jean-Philippe Rameau, coming from the same set of harpsichord pieces as the famous miniatures La poule and La rappel.
Grekow Jacek: Southern impressions - Review by: Robert Stead
Review by: Robert Stead (The Classical Free-Reed ) IX 2007
Southern impressions is Grekow's latest recording. As stated in the CD liner: “As the title of Jacek Grekow's album suggests, the music registered in it is in different ways connected with the South and more precisely with the mediterranean culture”. Two of the composers hail from the North, but their compositions have their origins in the South. The tarentella is a traditional southern Italian dance and the toccata originated in northern Italy.
The passion of the first three Spanish works is offset by Satie's spartanesque and elegant Gymnopedie No. 1. Grekow's layed-back and subdued rendering creates a soothing atmosphere. This atmosphere is shattered by Ole Schmidt Toccata for Accordion No. 2--the only contemporary piece offered here, and the only piece written solely for the accordion. Toccata for Accordion has a frenetic energy that commands the attention of the listen and taxes the endurance of the performer. Grekow maintains the energy and drive throughout the piece. I found his interpretation of Rameau's L'Egyptienne interesting. Mie Miki recorded this piece on her “French Baroque Music” album. The recording is wonderful—and fast. For whatever reason, the sound engineer used a very deep reverb effect. Because of this, some of the details of the Miki recording are lost to the listener. Grekow instead decided to use a slower tempo and very little reverb effect. The result—an extremely clear recording that allows the listener to focus on the voices. I always enjoy Scarlatti transcriptions for the accordion. I was not disappointed with the three presented here. It appears that Grekow wanted to distinguish the pieces by tempo since each piece is progressively faster. Wieniawski's Tarantella seems a fitting conclusion as well as an introduction to Jacek Grekow's other CD's. The Tarantella, of course, is a traditional dance that has been recast into a classical form. It just this type of recasting of tradition into new forms that distinguises Grekow's work outside of the classical stage.
CD Review by Cochran Sommers - Accordions Worldwide
CD Review by Joan Cochran Sommers - 28 March, 2008 (Accordions Worldwide)
Southern Impressions has one of the most beautiful CD covers of any I have seen on an accordion recording. It is not only of a gorgeous young woman but it is also extremely intriguing and inviting; one cannot help but want to listen to the music inside! The designer should be very pleased for the concept; in my opinion, it really works.
Mr. Grekow is a fine player and this CD is absolutely worthy of your attention. It has many fine qualities for study and enjoyment. It is recommended without qualification.