• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

Making Simple Music Sound Sensational

Walker

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
377
Reaction score
793
Location
Highlands of Scotland
Recently I have been listening to some versions of Ave Maria. There seems to be a great yearning amongst so many great composers to write their version. Almost everyone gave it a go - from Elgar, Mozart, Stravinsky, Dvorak, Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Bach/Gounod, Piazzolla, Verdi, Rachmaninov, Bruckner. I could keep on going...

Whilst I often get the impression that accordionists like to tackle the complicated tunes that sound dazzling, I think the greater challenge is to make simpler music sound magnificent. I think it is a challenge that accordionists often struggle with.

Let's take two instrumental versions of well known settings of the piece:

Vengerov on violin playing the Schubert version:


Yo-Yo Ma's cello version of Bach/Gounod's setting:


Both are quite superb.

Now accordionists often do a solid job with Piazzolla's version - but I am less convinced with other versions. Schubert's may be the most famous - I struggle to find any accordionists on Youtube who really and truly capture the emotion of the music (I don't mean good versions, but truly captivating ones) .

If anyone can share an epic accordion version of Schubert's Ave Maria I would like to hear it.

Or is it nothing to do with the musicians? Are the accordion makers not able to make good enough sounding instruments? Are the Golas and Jupiters really comparable to the other great (non accordion) instruments?

There are one or two notable attempts that are more than good:

Hanzi playing Gounod's version:



But do you know any real corkers?​

This to me is the greatest challenge - making simple music sublime!
 
Last edited:

Walker

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
377
Reaction score
793
Location
Highlands of Scotland
Amazing. Both are really great. Cornysh and Josquin des Prez seem to have been around at the same time, though perhaps in different places - England and France. Both capture me, I cannot prefer one over the other, but the Cornysh version in particular hooks me. The polyphonic voices are wonderful. Sophisticated and soothing - I imagine typical of the English pre-reformation style.
 
Last edited:

Jim2010

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
210
Reaction score
104
Location
Florida, USA
One of the things that I have been fortunate to do is photograph live performances of the Florida Orchestra for the past 30 years. It began when the Orchestra's original Pops conductor, Skitch Henderson, invited me to photograph him from onstage where he sat me in the midst of the orchestra (with a soundproof camera, of course). Since then there have been hundreds of performers and conductors, Isaac Stern, Yo Yo Ma, even members of the New York Yankees Baseball team (at Christmas concerts). There have been many memorable performances, but one that sticks out was a night when Bobby McFerrin was conducting (he has a classical background). I was hidden at the edge of the first balcony. About midway through the performance, Bobby turned to the audience and asked, "Would you like to sing a song together?" Without waiting for an answer he started singing deep voiced arpeggios—the harmony of Bach's Ave Maria. When it was time for the melody, out of the darkness of the theatre came tiny, high, tentative voices of women in the audience. I nearly fell onto the stage. Their voices grew stronger as they went along and it was an unbelievably moving experience. Simple but breathtaking.
 

Similar threads

Top