It has been a pleasure to renew acquaintance with the accordion virtuoso Joseph Petric, whom I met in UK and reviewed in earlier years, before the days of the Internet. As an instrumentalist he has been a touring ambassador for Canadian composers, as well as succeeding in building and maintaining a career solely devoted to concert music. The recital is a good showcase for Petric's chosen instrument, a favourite of mine too although it still encounters prejudice.
This selection is provocative and well contrasted, combining solo accordion with electronic tape, and in chamber music settings. There is ample ingenuity, even if perhaps no out-and-out masterpiece, in this eclectic programme of music by six established Canadian composers, each with a distinctive voice; none of the younger generation is represented here, nor were any known to me - but no matter.
It is launched rather spectacularly with the title track arranged from a piano original (the accordion can usually manage to play even complex piano music with little adaptation required). A complex, lively study in microrhythms, it is the integration of taped 'street material' in Orbiting Garden which gives this exhilarating piece its special and up-to-date character. Lanza too combines the accordion with tape, and 'exploits inner hearing and memory'. Also with tape, Arcuri goes for 'funk rock' energy.
The only solo piece is Micheline Roi's; she explores fear through alternating sustained melody and driving virtuosity. Dusatko adds percussion and a viola for his more expressive, neo-Romantic piece. Symonds (1920-88) has a duo with marimba, the two instruments combining lyrically and combatively by turns.
Fine stereo sound and full notes add to the appeal of this new CD; I last reviewed Petric at the Huddersfield International Festival of Contemporary Music and I have enjoyed his earlier CDs, Gems; Catbird Seat and Shadow (Centrediscs CMC CD 3288-1988).
Copyright © 2002, Peter Grahame Woolf