Notes & Reviews:
Sofia Gubaidulina's distinguished career and her 80th birthday are celebrated with this world première recording of Fachwerk. Recorded here by its acclaimed dedicatee Geir Draugsvoll and in the presence of the composer, this dramatic but also magical work is inspired by a fascination with architectural styles of timber framing. The bayan is a distinctively Russian variant of the accordion and is an essential feature of this piece, also giving a special character to the subtle poetry and textures of Silenzio.
Naxos released this CD with two works by composer Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931) are an excellent example of particular interest that she has on the bayan, a type of accordion belonging to Russian folklore. The first work, Fachwerk (2009), is a concerto for bayan, percussion and string orchestra of more than half an hour where through a long series of variations explores the sonic possibilities of the instrument. Is extremely well led by Geir bayista Draugsvoll, which can make us forget the prejudices that some have with the accordion, the strings of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra conducted by +yvind Gimse develop its role. Full disk Silenzio (1991), a great piece for bayan, violin and cello that runs in the five parts that compose an intimate insight into the silence, not made sound, but as absence. Draugsvoll maintains its high level with Geir Inge Lotsberg the violin and the cello +yvind Gimse, form a very harmonized.
BBC Music Magazine
Geir Draugsvoll is a mesmerising soloist, both here and in the slighter Silenzio, five miniatures with violin and cello that explore the border between sound and silence with intimate concentration. +yvind Gimse, who directs the performance of Fachwerk, is the cellist here and, with violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg, a perfect and sensitive sonic foil to Draugsvoll's bayan. A marvellous disc.
Gubaidulina dedicated Fachwerk to Norwegian soloist Geir Draugsvoll, who gave the world premiere in 2009. Draugsvoll repays the compliment in full with a marvellously nuanced account of a marvellously nuanced work. The strings of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra... give a focused, attentive performance under +yvind Gimse's direction.
... there is no doubt that in the hands of a masterful player such as Geir Draugsvoll, the bayan holds its own as an impressive solo instrument ... the performers here have figured out how to be sure everyone has a say in the conversation, and the result is an impressive performance ...
"True music has the structure of God's creation," said the most important living composer Sofia Gubaidulina, the ensemble for chamber music magazine on the occasion of her 80th Birthday on 24 October. If you listen to this phenomenal CD, then you can feel what it means. Gubaidulina ennobles the Russian folk instrument bayan (a type of accordion) for classical ensembles, and coaxed him harmonies of transcendent beauty.
The CD has a dry and concentrated acoustic. Oddly, this helps our appreciation of the intensity and drive of Gubaidulina's music - even with the need for respectful resonance from the bayan. Furthermore, no one instrument is overbearing or too penetrating, for all the inciting and pointed roles they are asked to play. This is due as much to the skill of the performers as anything. Their first duty is to the unperfumed yet delicate world which Gubaidulina creates and then deftly occupies. They discharge such a duty very well.
Gubaidulina's fine ear and her skill with subtly arranged and contrasted forms maintain interest in a piece lasting over half an hour ... in the six miniatures that make up Silenzio ... there is a somewhat Webernian use of silence and delicately placed sound which draws in the listener's concentration. These are very attentively performed pieces, Geir Draugsvoll's bayan blending subtly with the violin and cello.
Is worthwhile because the five-movement trio work "Silenzio" for bayan, violin and cello. To swing the musical structure factor far from a melancholic mood, seems to. It's about a few simple melodic fragments that are reminiscent of folk tunes. Geir Inge-berg draw lots on fiddle, Oyvind Gimse at the cel-lo and Geir Draugsvoll accordion on the emotional content of the composition in full.
Another new release advances the Bayan in the center of attention. There is an Eastern European version of a chromatic button accordion. It has no buttons, but "only" a perceived one million buttons that are used to accomplish a particular feat: You can play single notes, but also "a button" complete chords. In this way, chromatic games are possible, which probably would be with no other instrument so represented.
The Irish Times
Sofia Gubaidulina is a composer who delights in the exploration of instrumental sonorities. This new CD couples two pieces, written nearly 20 years apart, that feature the Russian button accordion, the bayan, an instrument which clearly has a special place in Gubaidulinas heart. Fachwerk (Timber Framing) for bayan, percussion and string orchestra, premiered in 2009 and here receives its first recording. It was inspired by a perceived linkage between the instrument and the patterns of timber frame construction. The orchestra functions as a kind of alter ego or doppelgänger, so that you can almost regard the 36-minute, single-movement piece as the output of a unique hyper-bayan. Silenzio, for bayan, violin (Geir Inge Lotsberg) and cello (Øyvind Gimse), is, as the title suggests, a meditation at the softest of the dynamic spectrum.
Sofia Gubaidulina is one of those composers who immediately convinces that they have something important to convey, even if it is not possible to formulate in words. Her music is the holy seriousness. I think it has the ability to touch someone who is afraid of modern music and find it "difficult". From her work radiates an expressive power that breaks down all barriers.
one can only marvel at the music... and virtuosity of the performers. Stimulating listening indeed, and the Naxos audio is state-of-the-art.
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
Modern avant-garde techniques in cross-fertilization with the old tradition and local color is typical of Gubajdulina, which draws away from the familiar. A very convincing performance of a work which advanced theory superstructure paired with ancient improvisation.
She highlighted and underlined soloist alternating between the distinctive instrument's three registers - and has thus created a work that sounds typical Gubaidulina, typical of her late period. Here are floating glissader in the strings and heavy, rich bayan chords with associations of the church organ. And above and below the sound clouds comes clear, penetrating melody lines in Bayan treble and bass.
Here is the recording of the work that the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina recently wrote Geir Draugsvoll. Because of the disease was not finished in time for the scheduled its premiere performance in Trondheim two years ago but is now presented as a work that the contributors to the soloists and musicians use to celebrate the composer when she rounds the eighty.
Gubaidulina has a gift for creating memorable colors that serve as structural element and that gives her music much of it character. Fachwerk has a largely contemplative tone but toward the end it begins to build to a trmendous climax. Silenzio for bayan, violin, and cello is, as its title would suggest, largely a very quiet piece, and like much of the composer's music its unfolding is more textural than motivic. Both works, in their mood, tonal language (which is not traditionally tonal but makes use of free-floating tonal elements), and direct expressiveness, situate Gubaidulina in the mystical tradition of Valentin Silvestrov and Edison Denisov. The performers, including bayan player Geir Draugsvoll, percussionist Anders Loguin, violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg, cellist and conductor Oyvind Gimse, and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, play with intense focus and attention to tonal purity. Naxos sound is clean, detailed and atmospheric, with excellent depth.
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.
BBC Music Magazine, March 2012
[Fachwerk] is a wise and magical work, Gubaidulina at her most shamanic. Her characteristically exploratory attitude to sound and texture here engenders a spellbindingly poetic fantasy...A marvellous disc.
Recording information: Kolstad Church, Trondheim, Norway (02/28/2011-03/04/2011).
The first stellar piece on this CD is ‘Fachwerk’ (2009) for accordion and orchestra. It opens with this amazing sus accordion, to harp arpeggio, followed by a five octave gliss through the entire string orchestra (which is very familiar?—is it Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream?) Anyway the music never flags, Mussorgskyish in its juxtapositions, harmonic boldness and triumphalism. The gliss. eventually transforms into extremely dangerous chromaticism (Erwartung on Quaaludes) and is so fresh and stern at the same time, it reminds me of animation music for religious correction and reproof. The string gliss continues being transformed in a million different ways, all the post-modern juxtapositions of the permutations being reminiscent of my past fav, Schnittke. Also, The shear brilliance of the orchestration put it easily into the spectral camp of eastern block composers. The accordion part keeps expanding exponentially and by the middle is sonically huge (overdubbing?). The piece eventually reaches a mind numbing climax with is followed by a slow movement. Here a circle of fifths moves through all 12 keys making a connection to the 5 octave gliss. There’s lots of Siberia like-type space and breathing here (in the slow movement), as there is throughout the piece-the sign of a real master. After a while, you start to realize you’ve been listening to the same gesture over and over again, like a slow motion Cossack sword coming down on your head forever, over and over! The only down side is Sofia could never match that climax before the slow movement when she comes to the final climax at the end. She wouldn’t be the first composer that ran out of bullets (ask Custer)—despite that, this is truly an amazing piece. May western composers be shipped to the gulag post-haste, no foam, for correction and reproof.
The second cut, Silenzio for violin, cello and accordion (1989) is equally enthralling although completely opposite in mood and intent. It’s a five movement work that barely gets louder than a pp and consists of long microtonal sustains from which flows various short melodic fragments. It is like the most personal of Bergman film, delicate, deeply refined reflection on mankind’s interior life. Built into the structure of the piece is basically the cello gets higher as the violin gets lower, inverting the same plaintive melodic fragments, until the two instruments are at the top and bottom of their respective registers. Meanwhile the accordion throughout is sustaining and mirroring the main pitch sets, almost like reverb or delay, bathing the whole progression in a dream-like resonance. Another great piece!
Please buy every CD Sofia ever made so she can retire to a nice Dacha on the Black Sea and churn out more amazing music. -Signed her new agent and #1 fan!
Submitted on 12/28/11 by Mike Maguire
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Works DetailsGubaidulina, Sofia : Fachwerk, for bayan, percussion & string orchestra
- Performers: Geir Draugsvoll (Bayan); Anders Loguin (Percussion)
- Conductor: Oyvind Gimse
- Notes: Kolstad Church, Trondheim, Norway (02/28/2011-03/04/2011)
- Running Time: 36 min. 22 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary
- Written: 2009-2011
Gubaidulina, Sofia : Pieces (5) for Accordion, Violin and Cello "Silenzio"
- Performers: Geir Draugsvoll (Bayan); Geir Lotsberg (Violin); Oyvind Gimse (Cello)
- Notes: Kolstad Church, Trondheim, Norway (02/28/2011-03/04/2011)
- Running Time: 18 min. 6 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary
- Written: 1991