Well known and loved by his Quartetto Gelato audiences and fans, accordionist Alexander Sevastian performs a number of solo transcriptions of J.S. Bach’s most loved repertoire with clarity, virtuosity, spirit and respect for Baroque style. Today most serious accordionists will have played Bach since his music, regardless of original instrumentation, translates extremely well to the instrument. Unlike the Stradella left-hand chord system, Sevastian plays a free bass bayan accordion where the left-hand buttons are arranged in single-tone patterns thus allowing a wide range of melodic and chordal possibilities in both hands. Registers (much like organ stops) increase the pitch range and colour possibilities.
Bach lovers are guaranteed to respect and admire Sevastian’s performances. The Prelude and Fugue in A Minor features solid but not overpowering left-hand held notes against rapid right-hand lines in the Prelude. There is a clear differentiation of voices in the Fugue, especially in the low-voice entry thanks to Sevastian’s understanding of reed response. In contrast, the emotionally sensitive melodic performance of Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ showcases touching musicality grounded by solid rhythmic direction and cadence resolutions, attributes of a great accordion master. Sevastian’s detailed understanding of bellow-sound production drives with precision the fast lines and full harmonies in the Toccata from Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
There are two musical wonders sounding simultaneously here – Bach’s compositions and Sevastian’s accordion musicianship. Both are remarkable.