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Review Corner, September 2018

Hanzhi Wang, a Chinese accordionist who developed her chops in Copenhagen, (hence an album dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen), brings new depths to the accordion, at least to western ears. On The Path to HC Andersen features four atmospheric works by contemporary Danish composers, and in Wang’s hands the accordion becomes a source of mystery and atmosphere, ideal for portraying fairy tales. It’s the soundtrack to a really cool Tim Burton animation.

The best recommendation is that we managed to write this down fairly quickly, being immediately taken with it, but have contained playing the CD since (and on and on). A delightful collection of music. © 2018 Review Corner Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2018

As Naxos continues to explore every facet of classical music, this new release has works inspired by the stories of Hans Christian Andersen and written for Accordion. If that may sound bizarre, you will be surprised when you hear the first few minutes of the disc that could well have come from a Baroque organ, and will convince you that the instrument has many attractions, not least a wide-dynamic range and a spectrum of subtle shades. I recall my distress that reading Andersen’s The Little Match Girl brought about as a child, and I vowed never to read another word that he wrote, a decree that persists to this day. So with that in-built backdrop of dislike for the subjects on this disc, what about the hugely gifted performer, Hanoi Wang? I suppose it is perfectly in accord with the stories, and my favourite, divested of Andersen, is the technical excellence required for the three movements of Passing, her finger dexterity of prodigious virtuosity. The delicate colours that can be achieved from the instrument comes in the central part of Menuetto, all of the first part of the disc written by the Danish-born composer, Martin Lohse, and completed in the past six years. Born in 1967 Jesper Koch has offered the instrument a number of works, while we go back to a familiar name with the octogenarian, Bent Lorentzen, for his emotional Tears. Finally Saga Night from Svend Aaquist is an extended musical picture of the moods that Andersen created. The Accordion is a new experience for me, and I guess probably to the reader, but I greatly enjoyed it. So forget Andersen, and enjoy Wang. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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