For those who think classical music can’t be realised on accordion with any depth or subtlety, and who couldn’t acclimatise to Richard Galliano’s accordionised Bach, this disc could be the sweetest and most eclectic means of conversion. Japanese piano accordionist Mie Miki is one of the instrument’s most gifted exponents. I doubt anyone listening to her new album of 23 virtuoso miniatures and arrangements could fail to smile at the program’s delightful eccentricities or gasp at the sheer technical mastery on display.
As the title suggests, S’il vous plaît is most persuasive in French repertoire. Rigadoons by Rameau showcase Miki’s feeling for lively yet elegant Baroque ornamentation; she manages to squeeze real pathos out of Legrand’s theme from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and André Astier’s Miss Karting seduces with Gallic musette charm.
Dance forms are the order of the day in this recital replete with waltzes (Shostakovich and Philip Glass), polkas (Rossi) and tangos (Stravinsky and the gutsy title track by Piazzolla, patron saint of accordionists). Zez Confrey’s novelty piano classic Dizzy Fingers is an inspired inclusion: one really can picture Miki’s fingers leaping and prancing over the keys and buttons. Then there’s Handel, Brahms, Schubert and Scarlatti for good measure.
BIS made the recording in a Swedish church, capturing the recital’s intimacy and the Hohner’s rich sound palette. The cover art icons each depict a particular piece or character on this multi-faceted disc full of poise, vivacity and humour. There is something to please everyone – it’s a program to dip in and out of, but it does reward listeners curious enough to indulge in a single sitting.