11 Haydn hereticalJoseph Haydn – Heretic Threads
Boyd McDonald; Joseph Petric; Peter Lutek
Astrila Records (astrila-records.bandcamp.com) 

Much like nature, music exists in a vast spectrum. Despite the apparently binary concepts of Historically Informed Performance for example, in which ensembles and their ideologies can be split into disciples and heretics, there are innumerable ways to approach the performance of older music. Heretic Threads, a new two-disc release from pianist Boyd McDonald, accordionist Joseph Petric and composer Peter Lutek combines several different approaches to the music of Haydn, resulting in a product that defies categorization.

The first disc of Heretic Threads explores three Haydn piano works, interpreted on a fortepiano that is a replica of Haydn’s own instrument. This performance by MacDonald is light and energetic, with the fortepiano facilitating both clarity and articulation, and removing much of the percussive harshness that can be inflicted upon such music by modern pianos. 

The second disc is a fascinating re-interpretation of the same three works by Petric, but this time on the concert accordion, an instrument that defies expectations when juxtaposed so closely with the historical fortepiano. Haydn on a fortepiano and an accordion? Only a heretic would consider such a thing! Despite the apparent heresy, Haydn’s music is surprisingly satisfying on the accordion, and the subtleties that Petric evokes from his instrument complement the fortepiano versions while being delightfully unique. 

The final track is Sintering, a 27-minute mashup of Haydn and digital electronics by Peter Lutek. This medley makes use of the previous harpsichord and accordion performances to create something new and old all at once, a perfect way to summarize the contents of this engaging and ingenious foray into Haydn, as well as the way we look at, listen to and think about music.

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