with a bit more than a month since posting janacek's piano works behind us, and the dregs of late winter before us, this may be as opportune a moment as any to put forward the recordings of master accordionist teodoro anzellotti. for whereas rudolf firkusny's outings might sound better toward the end of august, when perhaps you've just put a few more overgrown paths behind you, anzellotti's sound perfectly grips the over-incubated madness for lost moments in the sun that those of us who live in places like... maine... live for... right about now. in his hands, the overgrown path suite loses some of its tragic edge, taking on a more optimistic tone in places (for instance, on "a blown away leaf", and most surprisingly, on "unutterable anguish"... on the spectrum of emotions, it seems the accordion bottoms out at 'glum'.) this is not to say, however, that these aren't stunning, poetic readings — for that they are. following these, anzellotti treats us to janacek's "three moravian dances" which sound completely at home on the instrument, showing off janacek's fluency with folk forms, and possibly inducing you to do a modest jig around your living room.
as for his work with satie's piano pieces, much the same can be said again. more though, this one can be praised for anzellotti's success in preserving and occasionally enriching the spirit of the works. yes, of course, when the notes come fast and loud, the sound can get a bit ruddy — such is the nature of the tool — but for the most part it stays lean, graceful. actually, on certain pieces, such as the "petite ouverture a danser", you have to wonder whether satie might've secretly had the accordion in mind when writing them. the gnossiennes aren't quite as penetrating as on their best piano performances, but as anzellotti handles each line with the requisite spine-chilling rubato, and as the space lost in his wide tones finds us in a more confined area with satie's music, the effect is nevertheless gripping.
lastly, my recent favorite of the batch, we have anzellotti plying his impressive chops against a selection of domenico scarlatti keyboard sonatas. these works surely never sounded so alive as in the hands of our hero of the day. he brands their austerity with humanity, melting their stone-faced rigidity with golden ebullience, and this joyfulness getting to frolic where it had been prohibited erstwhile is of a kind i find wildly seductive. the celebratory demeanor of these performances can't be an accident.
for the janacek, hear