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Tania Lukic-Marx now gives the CD reviews a rating system. This system includes a number of stars at the completion of the review, for example 5 stars (*****) means the CD was "brilliant" or "excellent", 4 stars = impressive, 3 stars = good, 2 stars = satisfactory and 1 star = didn't impress.

Title: Goldberg Variations, J. S. Bach
Artist: Lena Rist-Larsen, accordion
Supplied by: Lena Rist-Larsen  
Review date: July 5th 2002

1 - 32. Goldberg Variations - J.S.Bach

Cd CoverLena Rist-Larsen was born in 1971 and began to play the accordion at the age of 3. She distinguished herself during her childhood years as an exceptional musical talent, and has since attracted attention nationally and abroad. She has won international competitions in Klingenthal, Gothenburg and Copenhagen, as well as national contests. In 1995 she was awarded the Honda prize for her performance of Baroque music. Rist-Larsen feels a particular kinship with the music of the first half of the 18th century, and has pioneered this music on her instrument. In the spring of 1996 she held an acclaimed debut concert in Olso, consisting exclusively of the music of Bach - Johann Sebastian and all his 4 composer sons.

In addition, contemporary music makes up a major part of her repertoire. She has premiered several new works for accordion in a chamber setting, as well as for accordion and orchestra. She also plays the violin and is a sought-after pedagogue on both instruments.

Lena plays on a Zero-Sette accordion with complete and independent manuals, tailor-made for both contemporary and Baroque music. Particularly the latter with its demand for timbral coherence is especially suited for the instrument, whose registration was chosen like that of an organ. It is furthermore an important objective for Rist_Larsen to execute the music as faithfully to the original score as possible - it has therefore not been "arranged" for the accordion beyond the demands to accommodate the music to the range of the instrument. In other words, it is Bach's unfalsified score we are hearing, not a modified or modernised version.

It is instantly obvious from Lena's performance that this major Bach work was approached professionally. Just the fact that the whole colossal Goldberg Variations were performed and recorded on the accordion is quite impressive.

The following qualities of Lena's performance made the biggest impression on me: precision and clarity with which the articulation is executed and maintained throughout the piece; amazing bellows control and equally important - tonal control. Her tonal refinement comes from the 'inside'. Listening to her slow movements (variations), I am under the impression that she hears the tone before it has been 'born', feels what quality it should have and directs and empowers it her own way. To me, that's an amazing quality of any performer - tonal refinement and beauty as it is an ultimate goal of any true musician.

This recording is a Baroque treat.*****


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