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Bach, Berio, Mozart, Nordheim, Scarlatti, Schnittke, Takahashi, Piazzolla

Ksenija Sidorova (classical accordion)
with Sacconi Quartet

Champs Hill Records: CHRCD019

A big welcome to Ksenija Sidorova's debut CD, which many of us had been keenly anticipating.

She is a great young accordionist who has been a star of Owen Murray's department at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a popular soloist with Park Lane Group.

As a concert instrument the breakthrough for the concert accordion came with Mogens Ellegaard (1935-95) whose I remember his playing well. He created a first serious repertoire over four decades of commissioning, followed by further commissions by his pupils.

This programme seeks to provide for all tastes and my only serious regret is for inclusion of Mozart, whose variations on Baa, baa black sheep, less than compelling on the piano, don't suit the accordion well.*

No reservations at all for the rest of her enterprising programme which makes a fine showcase. Of special interest is Takahashi's piece, which the composer encouraged his dedicatee, the great Mie Miki, to give the score to anyone interested and have it passed from musician to musician.

It has now been treated to CopyLeft (instead of copyRight !) making the score freely available, as does Frederic Rzewski with his music. Download Like a Water Buffalo free from www.suigyu.com. [The composer tells me that this access is intended "only for musicians"...]

It is a fascinating work, with a complicated scheme of repeats in which the bass joins in second time and registers are varied. Would that scores were made available to reviewers more easily, with now all the advantages of the internet and easy .pdf transmission...

Presentation is good, with excellent notes by Martin Anderson and the artist herself.

I should hope that this is the last accordion CD which will need to carry something of an apologia for her versatile instrument, which Ksenija learnt with her grandmother in Latvia as a small child and sensibly stuck with it.

Enjoy Ksenija on YouTube in action at the Royal Academy playing music by Artem Vassiliev.

Peter Grahame Woolf

* Hearing the recording straight through again (on my iPod on holiday abroad) I enjoyed it all and trust that the programme as a whole will please purchasers. PGW