Richard Galliano - Bach

Richard Galliano's nibble fingers add charm to this disc of Bach favourites rearranged for the accordion but the result too novelty to really work.

Composer:  Bach
Repertoire: Various works arranged for accordion, accordina and bandoneón 
Artists: Richard Galliano (accordion, accordina, bandonéon) with friends
Rating: 3/5 
Genre: Instrumental 
Label: DG 480 3341

The Music Galliano’s programme consists of ten more or less popular works by Bach written originally for cello, flute, organ, oboe or keyboard. They include the Violin Concerto in A minor, Harpsichord Concerto in F minor, and the ubiquitous Air from the Orchestral Suite No.3. 

The Performance Galliano has adapted them for either accordion (that’s the one with a button keyboard), accordina (a kind of keyed harmonica) and bandonéon (think grown-up concertina). . Some pieces work better than others. Galliano’s extraordinarily nimble fingers make light work of Badinerie, while the Contrapunctus 1 from The Art of Fugue is an impressive (solo) technical feat. Too often, though, one yearns for the more expressive originals - the cello in the Prelude from the Suite No.1, say, and the oboe in the Concerto for Oboe and Violin – and for a less anonymous string accompaniment. 

The Verdict No question, Galliano is quite a player and this is an entertaining disc but when a Bach violin concerto resembles a Scottish country dance and his Siciliano is seasoned with onion and garlic then it cannot be counted a total success. 

Want More? For a consistently convincing recording of Bach (and other composers) on the accordion, try Mie Miki’s disc with Nobuko Imai (viola and violin) on BIS (BIS-CD-1229).