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Guillaume de Machaut: Motet 23: Felix Virgo/Inviolata/Ad te suspiramus; Rondeau 14: ‘Ma fin est mon commencement’ for viola and accordion. Johann Sebastian Bach: Italienisches Konzert, BWV 971, for solo accordion; Partita No.3, BWV 1006, for solo violin; Gamba Sonata No.1 in G major, BWV 1027, for viola and accordion; Chorale ‘Befiehl Du Deine Wege…’ (from St. Matthew Passion) plus Chorale arrangement ‘Herzlich tut mich verlangen…’, BWV 727, for viola and accordion. Heinrich Isaac: Amis des que; A fortune contrent (=Christe & Qui tollis from Missa ‘Chargé de Deul’) for viola and accordion. John Dowland: Lachrimæ Antiquæ; Can she excuse my wrongs; If my complaints for viola and accordion

Nobuko Imai viola/violin; Mie Miki accordion

BIS CD-1229 [TT:62'17]


John Dowland Ayres with viols

If that a sinner's sigh; From silent night; Come again; Flow my tears; Come away, come, sweet love; In darkness; Thou mighty God; Go Crystal tears; Fine knacks for ladies; Clear or cloudy; Shalf I strive; Come heavy sleep; Sorrow come
Prelude pour luth
If my complaints; In this trembling shadow cast; Lasso vita mia; Tell me, true love; Now, 0 now; Awake, sweet Love

gérard lesne alto
ensemble orlando gibbons
anne-marie lasla I kaori uemura I sylvie moquet I emmanuel balssa VIOLES jacob heringman LUTH

Naive Classics E 8881 [66 mins]

Arrangements are all the fashion for record companies seeking to freshen their catalogues with novelties. The concert accordion (the one with buttons for both hands) is a versatile instrument that can cope with most keyboard music very nicely. Mie Miki is one of the best accordionists before the public and Nobuko Imai a leading violist who makes her CD debut here on violin, doing a Bach partita convincingly and without making us feel that it is her second instrument.

The theme, developed in Lef Hasselgren's notes, is that composers have always stolen and rearranged music of their own and of others without compunction, and that all the composers here represented were 'borrowers, adapters and adjusters'.

Gently thought-provoking, this CD is a must for accordion enthusiasts and for violists; the combination works well, grave in meditative music like Dowland's Lachrymae, and Bach's Italian Concerto played by solo accordion is piquant to hear once in a while, but not a real competitor for the harpsichord.

It is an interesting experience, which sharpens the ears, to hear a range of music that we "know" how it should sound coming out differently.

Gérard Lesne traverses a similar theme in his recordings of ayres by John Dowland (1563-1626) with viol quartet accompaniment. Elizabeth Kenny develops in her notes the thought that 16th century amateurs were not always so gifted and well schooled as usually assumed. Dowland 'had a genius for reshaping his music' and allowed for mixed vocal and instrumental combinations; viols could replace missing voices and double under-confident ones. Flow my tears is given here in versions for voice and lute, voice and viols with and without lute, and for viols alone.

Again, a welcome refresher for ears brought up on recordings by Alfred Deller, Peter Pears, Emma Kirkby and others; not a great voice, but stylish and thoughtful interpretations throughout. Full documentation and with the words in the original English and translated into French.

© Peter Grahame Woolf