Journey from Bach to Piazzolla

The sound of the accordion, from a favorable perspective, conjures up images of Paris in the 1960s. The elegant instrument’s other, more down-and-out, side of the story, tends to be associated with street musicians playing numbers like «S’agapo Giati Ise Orea» for the umpteenth time. In truth, the accordion is an instrument capable of expressing a wide range of emotions, as has been underscored in the past by inspired musicians such as Astor Piazzolla. Modern contemporaries, such as Yann Tiersen and Richard Galliano, continue to extract beauty from the accordion. A visit tonight to the capital’s Pallas Theater (5 Voukourestiou, Syntagma, tel 210.321.3100) should convince concertgoers of Galliano’s worth – especially fans of tango, jazz and classical music. The gifted musician’s work combines atmosphere and technique for multifaceted and charismatic results. His work covers crossover territory in the sense that Galliano is part of a league of musicians capable of bridging gaps between music styles without betraying any of them. «I just let myself follow the wave of new sound,» Galliano told Kathimerini in an interview. «The assortment of music in terms of style and the people with whom I have collaborated is integrally linked to this instrument’s unique quality, which is shaped by the many countries that consider it to be their national instrument – France, Brazil, Russia and Italy.» Referring to Piazzolla, one of the accordion’s great old masters, Galliano spoke mellifluously. «Astor Piazzolla provided me with something more than just a tradition. He gave me a musical spirit to carry on, keep alive – a musical heritage.» Far from being just a disciple of Piazzolla’s, Galliano has also developed and formed a style of his own that is clearly evident on various album releases, especially his superb renditions of Johann Sebastian Bach’s suites. «Bach’s music is the past, present and future. His music has transgressed the centuries and various music styles. It is a body of work that established strong foundations and great influences for jazz musicians. It is also a great artistic challenge to become involved with this body of work, and jazz musicians love challenges,» explained Galliano. «I generally have a good feeling about the future of jazz. I think that the variety that distinguishes contemporary jazz musicians around the world is crucial. It’s a very positive situation.» For tonight’s performance in Athens, Galliano will be accompanied by a new sextet. «We’ll be going on a musical journey from Bach and Piazzolla… to Galliano,» he said.

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