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DEITSCH - Mittsommer Sessions 

DEITSCH - Mittsommer Sessions 
Artes Records ARCD5020 

It is still the case that we hear fewer albums celebrating German song and dance music in the UK that we ought to; and if there are any more as outstanding as what this quartet is offering us, then we are really missing out.

If you were looking for British bands that sound like Deitsch, you would have to listen to Purcell's Polyphonic Party and The Emily Askew Band. They all show that combination of a great love of traditional music with what sounds like conservatoire training; particularly in the way they make their excellent arrangements which lean towards the baroque. Most of the material comes from tune book manuscripts of the sort that are found over here on the Village Music Project website, then there are a few tunes written by band members. The musicianship throughout is of a very high standard, with all musicians showing a great empathy with one another. The names of Jürgen Treyz and Gudrun Walther are likely to resonate in Britain, as they have worked here with the Scottish musicians Claire Mann and Aaron Jones.

This is an album that benefits from many repeated playings as it seems to reveal different facets of its beauty with each listening, as the shepherd's pipe or flute interacts with twin fiddles playing with attack and verve, all carefully underscored by Jürgen. In Gudrun they have a compelling lead singer, and it is her haunting singing of Es War Ein König In Thule, the ballad from Goethe's Faust, that makes the most riveting listening.

This album has certainly brightened many a wet miserable winter day in this house.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine