“Friendship and tributes bind this album together” is how new music pianist Sarah Cahill describes the CD “Teetering on the Verge of Normalcy” from the “trailblazing virtuoso” (The Wall Street Journal) accordionist Guy Klucevsek. “Compared to his previous work, this heartfelt album has an especially elegiac quality, informed by the loss of comrades and colleagues.”
Kyle Gann once wrote, “Klucevsek writes the world’s most abnormal ‘normal’ music.” Cahill also discusses the sly complexities of the CD’s works, then adds, “What is amazing, then, is how natural and right this music sounds,” adding this is “an album you can dance to.”
Several pieces are dedicated to close friends. Guy composed For Lars, Again for fellow accordionist Lars Hollmer (died 2008), Shimmer for composer William Duckworth (died 2012), and Bob Flath Waltzes with the Angels for arts patron Bob Flath (died 2014). Regarding the latter, Klucevsek writes:
Bob Flath was a major patron and organizer of the arts in the Oil City, PA area. A retired high school teacher and wrestling coach, he curated Oil City’s “First Night” event for many years, and hosted concerts in a beautifully retrofitted barn on his property, where I most recently played in September 2014, for an event which he jokingly referred to as his living wake. Although in his mid 80s, Bob looked to be in good health at the time, but he must have had a premonition, because he passed away quietly two weeks later.
Other pieces are tributes to composers who have inspired Klucevsek: Three Quarter Moon for Kurt Weill;Little Big Top for Fellini’s long-time composer, Nino Rota; and The Asphalt Orchid for Astor Piazzolla. The violin and accordion duos are part of the score for Ruth Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, a dance work inspired by the modern dance pioneer, Ruth St. Denis. Klucevsek identified with her works’ eclecticism and world cultures roots, both of which have been reflected in his music for decades.
He wrote Haywire Rag (A Waltz) for his friend Joseph Franklin, founder and long-term Director of the new music group Relâche, and Ice Flowers for fellow accordionist Otto Lechner.
Guy is joined on these recordings by hand-picked, stellar musicians, including violinist Todd Reynolds, soprano Kamala Sankaram, and pianist Alan Bern.
previous Klucevsek recordings from Starkland
Starkland has an impressive history of releasing recordings from Klucevsek:
- Transylvanian Softwear garnered a “Recording of Special Merit” from Stereo Review.
- Free Range Accordion is an “excellent album” (All-Music Guide) that “could well become a landmark on the accordion’s long march to respectability” (Classics Today)
- The Los Angeles Times wrote that Starkland’s double-CD release Polka From The Fringe is “a riot, and an addictive one at that,” while noting, “Klucevsek has few equals in bending genres.” Sequenza 21 commented the album is “full of joy, pleasure, and talent.”
About Guy Klucevsek
Guy Klucevsek is one of the world’s most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. He has performed and/or recorded with Laurie Anderson, Bang On a Can, Brave Combo, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Rahim al Haj, Robin Holcomb, Kepa Junkera, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Present Music, Relâche, Zeitgeist, and John Zorn.
Klucevsek has redefined the status of the accordion in new music. As a “rebel with an accordion,” he “combines poker-faced wit and imagination with command of his instrument, forcing you to re-think the accordion’s limitations” (Downbeat). He is “a remarkable performer on a remarkable instrument” (Village Voice), and the uninitiated must “forget everything you thought you knew about the accordion” (The Seattle Weekly).
Performances include the Ten Days on the Island Festival (Tasmania), the Adelaide Festival (Australia), the Berlin Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, Spoleto Festival/USA, BAM Next Wave Festival, Vienna International Accordion Festival, and the children’s television show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” In 1996, he founded composer/accordionist ensemble Accordion Tribe. They toured internationally from 1996-2009, are the subjects of Stefan Schwietert’s award-winning documentary film, “Accordion Tribe: Music Travels,” and released three CDs on the Intuition label.
He has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces, including his own, as well as those he has commissioned from Mary Ellen Childs, William Duckworth, Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, Jerome Kitzke, Stephen Montague, Somei Satoh, Lois V Vierk, and John Zorn. Klucevsek has released over 20 recordings as soloist/leader on Tzadik, Winter & Winter, Innova, Starkland, Review, Intuition, CRI, and XI.
He can also be heard on John Williams’s orchestral scores for the Steven Spielberg films, “The Terminal,” “Munich,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and “The Adventures of Tin-Tin,” and on A. R. Rahman’s score for “People Like Us.”