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Accordion between Amsterdam and Zorn

John Zorn on accordion, played virtuosically? Yep, it can and it may. Young accordionist Erica Roozendaal proved it Saturday in Cape. Fingered, she led the audience through time, from the Renaissance to a heavy piece from Zorn’s Naked City.

A frail, young thirty-something, she is. You wouldn’t expect it, but Erica Roozendaal has fantastically strong arm muscles. At age eight, she began playing her instrument. She studied in the Netherlands and Scandinavia and now tours with her newly released Arquitecturas dek Silencio, recorded in a church in Iceland.

All alone, she entered the Cape stage. The audience, young and old, became instantly mute as she entered the first notes of a klezmer piece that flowed seamlessly into a prelude by the 18th century composer Rameau.

Review and photography Kris J Y Verdonck

Sylvia Rickard is a Canadian composer and wrote the piece Cat and Mouse for Erica Roozendaal. Cape experienced the world premiere of this playful, archly difficult piece. Originally planned for a festival in Canada, but The Virus threw a spanner in the works. Not to worry, Erica took out her cell phone and filmed herself live so Rickard could watch the premiere from a distance. Cat and Mouse: Immediately images of a cat chasing a mouse came to mind. Jumping and hopping and like Roozendaal’s fingers that danced across the accordion at an uneven speed.

The sun was setting beautifully in the North Sea. Meanwhile, many people remained standing outside on the embankment, delving into the distant past of music. A madrigal by Paletstrina was seamlessly paired with Bach’s Italian Concerto, which became the second highlight of the evening and can safely be considered groundbreaking, as Bach composed it for a double keyboard. Virtuoso and Roozendaal, it fits perfectly within the same sentence.

Time for some humor. Already titled In Praise of Eating Game Roast that took the audience back to the Baroque era. A text by Bredero set to music by Sanchez-Verdu. Sounds highly contemporary, incantatory, where silence is as important as the notes.

How do you translate John Zorn’s Naked City to accordion? Well, by letting the instrument explore every corner of the room. By fondling the drawstring, tapping on it, dotting every note there is. Supplementing with quotes from music history, even the Bird Dance came in for a few bars. An additional highlight of the evening in Ostend.

(c) Kris J Y Verdonck
Erica Roozendaal, a name to remember. She takes you to musical places you didn’t expect.

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