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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, November 2012

…fascinating music…there’s no mistaking its eagerness to communicate… © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Calum MacDonald
BBC Music Magazine, March 2012

Geir Draugsvoll is a mesmerising soloist, both here and in the slighter Silenzio, five miniatures with violin and cello that explore the border between sound and silence with intimate concentration.  Øyvind Gimse, who directs the performance of Fachwerk, is the cellist here and, with violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg, a perfect and sensitive sonic foil to Draugsvoll’s bayan.  A marvellous disc. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

MusicWeb International, February 2012

Gubaidulina dedicated Fachwerk to Norwegian soloist Geir Draugsvoll, who gave the world premiere in 2009. Draugsvoll repays the compliment in full with a marvellously nuanced account of a marvellously nuanced work. The strings of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra…give a focused, attentive performance under Øyvind Gimse’s direction. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review, December 2011

…there is no doubt that in the hands of a masterful player such as Geir Draugsvoll, the bayan holds its own as an impressive solo instrument…the performers here have figured out how to be sure everyone has a say in the conversation, and the result is an impressive performance… © 2011 Read complete review

Mark Sealey
MusicWeb International, December 2011

The music of Sofia Gubaidulina, who was born 80 years ago last month (October 2011), is generally exciting, often unpredictable, always fresh. The two pieces on this new CD have all those qualities. They make it one you should certainly get if you’re even only remotely interested in her music; or if you want to include novelty and experiment in your listening—particularly to explore the ways in which instruments’ particular qualities can be made successfully to convey certain ideas, meet specific compositional aims and evoke specific feelings.

Fachwerk…offers new, subtle and delightful sounds to the listener with open ears…the lush and harmonious, fruity and penetrating combination of sounds from the bayan makes for an intriguing experience.

It is possible to listen to Fachwerk, which means ‘timber framing’ without any notion of the allusions with which Gubaidulina is working. Yet to understand that she has buildings so constructed in mind undoubtedly adds a significant dimension. They are buildings where the superstructure is exposed, where nothing is hidden. Indeed, to have succeeded as well as Gubaidulina has in Fachwerk and to expose correspondingly the very ‘construction’ of the instruments is a remarkable achievement. But it’s somehow what the composer has done. The music is geometrical without being sterile. It’s muscular and strong without being monolithic. It is transparent without its sounds dominating the subtle aesthetic. Gubaidulina’s intention goes some way towards explaining her choice of the bayan: it can easily alternate between melodic and chordal writing. To have achieved the same thing with a string orchestra and still to have provided purely musical interest for the entire duration is a real feat. Gubaidulina explains in the as usual adequate notes how she uses the dominant, subdominant and tonic. This takes nothing away: there is still nothing mechanical or formulaic in Fachwerk.

Similarly, the five movements of Silenzio…is full of energy and taut in the extreme. The combination of bayan, violin and cello is as novel as it is successful. Gubaidulina somehow does portray silence. The music seems at all times content to sway and gesture, to hint and diminish.

The CD has a dry and concentrated acoustic. Oddly, this helps our appreciation of the intensity and drive of Gubaidulina’s music—even with the need for respectful resonance from the bayan. Furthermore, no one instrument is overbearing or too penetrating, for all the inciting and pointed roles they are asked to play. This is due as much to the skill of the performers as anything. Their first duty is to the unperfumed yet delicate world which Gubaidulina creates and then deftly occupies. They discharge such a duty very well. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review

John Warrack
Gramophone, December 2011

Gubaidulina’s fine ear and her skill with subtly arranged and contrasted forms maintain interest in a piece lasting over half an hour

…in the six miniatures that make up Silenzio…there is a somewhat Webernian use of silence and delicately placed sound which draws in the listener’s concentration. These are very attentively performed pieces, Geir Draugsvoll’s bayan blending subtly with the violin and cello.

To read the complete review, please visit Gramophone online., November 2011

one can only marvel at the music…and virtuosity of the performers. Stimulating listening indeed, and the Naxos audio is state-of-the-art. Read complete review

Stephen Eddins, November 2011

Gubaidulina has a gift for creating memorable colors that serve as structural element and that gives her music much of it character. Fachwerk has a largely contemplative tone but toward the end it begins to build to a trmendous climax. Silenzio for bayan, violin, and cello is, as its title would suggest, largely a very quiet piece, and like much of the composer’s music its unfolding is more textural than motivic. Both works, in their mood, tonal language (which is not traditionally tonal but makes use of free-floating tonal elements), and direct expressiveness, situate Gubaidulina in the mystical tradition of Valentin Silvestrov and Edison Denisov. The performers, including bayan player Geir Draugsvoll, percussionist Anders Loguin, violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg, cellist and conductor Oyvind Gimse, and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, play with intense focus and attention to tonal purity. Naxos sound is clean, detailed and atmospheric, with excellent depth.

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, November 2011

The music is much taken with exotic mysteries, ideas and texts—somewhat in the manner of Tavener though her music differs. The two pieces recorded here are part of a not large but noteworthy stream of modern works written for the bayan—the folk derived accordion. Fachwerk is dedicated to the player featured here who also premiered it in Amsterdam in 2009. The single movement 37 minute span suggests a mercurial and lapidary fairy tale. The music is accessible enough with rumbling, cajoling, howling, ululating and balladeering from both bayan and orchestra. It’s a virtuoso display in the manner of The Firebird—the latest manifestation of the Russian folktale. The music glitters and rings. Then comes the five movement Silenzio. This is more internalised and reflective, severe and less endearing.

Draugsvoll…proves himself a most subtly facetted artist whose collaborations with composers of the stature of Gubaidulina have yielded rewards for both himself and the composers.

Gubaidulina’s two works for bayan prove much more than curiosities.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2011

The Russian-born composer, Sofia Gubaidulina, celebrated her 80th birthday with the final revision of a major symphonic work, Fachwerk. Although musically educated at the Moscow Conservatoire by Shostakovich’s assistant, Nikolai Peiko, she never belonged to a school of composition, but ploughed her own musical furrow with unusual sonorities. She enjoys a following among a small group of modernists, but her scores have yet to form part of the regular concert repertoire. This new work is not difficult to like or comprehend, the score including a solo role for the bayan, a Russian version of the accordion whose range, power and adaptability brings it a very distinctive character. The orchestral part calls for strings with percussion that add its own particular sonorities at the appropriate moments. First completed in 2009, it was premiered by the Norwegian virtuoso of the bayan, Geir Draugsvoll, who now reprises its success. Lasting just over thirty-six minutes, it is continuous but divided into sections, moving very quickly from unusual and ethereal sounds to ones of high impact. At times she uses the instrument as if a chamber organ capable of producing shimmering qualities familiar in electronic music. There are passages for the bayan alone, often responded to by orchestral strings producing similar sounds that fade away, only for the work to end in a mini-explosion—intriguing. Silenzio, which is already in the Naxos catalogue, is scored for bayan, violin and cello, and is in five linked sections, the composer commenting that for her silence is the staring point from which music grows. It too offers an intriguing collage of sounds that go way outside the familiar. Recorded in the composer’s presence, one can take these performances as setting the benchmark. The recording engineers have produced an immaculately balanced sound. Highly commended.

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