Bach: Das wohltemperiete Akkordeon - Mie Miki
Classical - Instrumental
Bach: Das wohltemperiete Klavier (excerpts from books 1 & 2)
Mie Miki (accordion)
Review by Adrian Quanjer - May 3, 2017
Is Bach indestructible? I believe so. Take for instance his concerto for three violins and transpose it for, say, three trombones. It probably won’t do much harm. And what if his Wohltemperierte Klavier (Well-Tempered Clavier) is played on an accordion? Isn’t it one keyboard against another? If seen as an organ, which in a way it is (reed organ), with left and right hand keyboard (foot pedals missing), it is even more flexible. An interesting idea. I’ve put it to the test and wasn’t disappointed.
In Bach’s time tampering with compositions, remodeling it for other instruments or using parts for something else was quite acceptable. Even using someone else’s brainchild; Bach’s concerto for four harpsichords, taken from Vivaldi’s four violins concerto, adapted to his (Bach’s) own taste (some would probably say: improved), did not meet with any objection.
Had the accordion existed, Bach might have done it himself. Now we owe the transcription to the artist, Mie Mikki, copying the exact notes from the harpsichord to the accordion. The interesting bit is no doubt that a harpsichord has no means to change the intensity of sound, something which the accordion can by changing the air pressure. Thus, a livelier picture emerges. Added to Mi Mikie’s precise, rhythmical and competent finger work a most satisfactory result vies for our attention.
We deal here with the intellectual summit of Bach’s oeuvre; a monument of architectural achievement, composed "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study" (Book I 1722, to which he added 20 years later a further set: Book II). Its importance cannot be under estimated. They served i.a. as a model for such composers as Chopin and Shostakovich.
For brevity Ms. Mikki has selected only twelve of the 48 pairs of preludes and fugues, ensuring that they give a good cross section of Bach’s keyboard testament. But even so, it is study material and may, therefore, be a long sit for non-initiated listeners. It’s not like the concerti for violin. It is much more demanding. In her introduction to the liner notes Mikki acknowledges that it took her ‘five years of intensive preparation’ before she felt sufficiently confident to trust it to record.
For classical accordionists a must, the result will also appeal to all those studying or, more generally, involved in Bach’s oeuvre, and certainly to ‘mélomanes’ interested in musical development in the Baroque era. That said I would furthermore recommend it to a larger musical audience as it adds a new dimension, next to the existing harpsicord and piano versions.
Copyright © 2017 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net