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Iñigo Aizpiolea and Iñaki Alberdi (Classical Accordion Duo)


Royal Academy of Music, David Josefowitz Recital Hall 20 January & 13 February 2006

Luis de Pablo Three Pieces (1979/2005)
Manuel de Falla Serenata
Joan Guinjoan Fantasía (world première)
Karlheinz Stockhausen Tierkreis (1975)
Stravinsky Petrushka


Accordion Showcase


Royal Academy of Music accordion Department

This concert, the culmination of two days teaching by Iñigo Aizpiolea and Iñaki Alberdi, Professor of Accordion at the San Sebastian conservatory and in Barcelona, must have been the most interesting to be heard in London that night, and one of the best. Some people are still allergic to the accordion, but hearing two Piginis (the Rolls Royce of the accordion) played by experts will surely have converted them.

This was a well balanced programme, even though a WP of a new work with CD was not played for "technical reasons". The accordion is capable of encompassing most piano music, and has the possibility of huge dynamic range and precision without percussive attack. In this concert there was marvellous rapport with eye contact, allowing for the most subtle rubato and rhythmic unanimity, that more problematic with duo-piano playing. The sound in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall was ideal, full yet intimate. It was gratifying that this concert, organised by Prof Owen Murray of the prestigious RAM Accordion Department, was well attended to near capacity.

The Stravinsky arrangement is a popular virtuoso favourite and was despatched with verve and impressive accuracy. Of especial interest was the delicate Stockhausen work which belied some misconceptions about that composer. Short pieces exploring characters of people he knew and their Zodiac star signs, a great deal of the music is quiet and super-refined and was heard with rapt attention.

Luis de Pablo b.1930 (his 75th birthday currently being celebrated internationally) arranged recently for these players three movements from his Concerto No 2 for Piano and Orchestra (strings and two percussionists) - dialogue between piano and orchestra becoming "an union between two instruments of the same characteristics using similar materials and different musical resources". Those searching and concentrated pieces originated from an earlier period of this prolific composer, who has achieved world-wide fame but remains too little heard in UK (q.v. PGW's 1999 over-view of Luis de Pablo).

Having no encore pieces to hand (the duo-accordion repertoire needs to be enlarged?) Aizpiolea and Alberdi repeated the Falla Serenata for an audience reluctant to let them go. Perhaps de Pablo might be persuaded to compose a new piece especially for Iñigo and Iñaki?

See also de Pablo's latest CDs.at Luis de Pablo @ 75

Accordion Showcase

Royal Academy of Music Accordion Department
David Josefowitz Recital Hall 13 February 2006

A well planned and thoroughly enjoyable demonstration of what the best of Prof. Owen Murray's students can offer.

The whimsical third piece from Schnittke's backward looking suite showed how well violin and accordion can be matched. Bozanic's piece displayed special effects on flute and accordion (screeching, tapping, glissandi) - prolonged excessively towards the end of his Fragments. Repnikov's Capriccio is duly virtuosic.

The musical highlight was probably Gubaidulina's Croce in which cello goes well with accordion instead of organ (q.v. Julius Berger's CDs with accordionist Stefan Hussong). Another cello/accordion duo displayed more blend than contrast in Piazzola's Le Grande Tango and a welcome reminder of what two accordions can produce was given by two of the accomplished soloists in Piazzola's Adios Nonino.

A regret must be expressed that the back page of the programme, given over to the Royal Academy's donors, could not instead have provided us with information about the unfamiliar composers and their works (a similar deficiency is to be noted in the notes for Iñigo Aizpiolea and Iñaki Alberdi's otherwise splendid CD, illustrated above).

These were two inspiriting events, both evenings music making of highest calibre, and it must be hoped that in the near future gifted UK accordionists will surface, so that the instrument takes its deserving place in our country as well as those represented by the two Spaniards and by RAM's showcased musicians.




© Peter Grahame Woolf