• 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

What do you think is the future for accordion in classical music?

losthobos

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
805
Location
Essex UK
Oopps....in the cold light of day my post last night may appear disrespectful and flippant .. apologies....not intended so...
Perhaps what I meant to imply was that 'the future of classical accordion' lies in the hands of the next composer...just playing the same tried and tested formulas of course has great value but alas does not move forward into the future...I think @Tom has grasped this....
With that in mind I guessing the future lies in @Walker s hands as he's composed a couple of beautiful refreshing new classical pieces for the accordion.....
Keep em coming....
 

Walker

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
553
Reaction score
1,176
Location
Highlands of Scotland
Oopps....in the cold light of day my post last night may appear disrespectful and flippant .. apologies....not intended so...
Perhaps what I meant to imply was that 'the future of classical accordion' lies in the hands of the next composer...just playing the same tried and tested formulas of course has great value but alas does not move forward into the future...I think @Tom has grasped this....
With that in mind I guessing the future lies in @Walker s hands as he's composed a couple of beautiful refreshing new classical pieces for the accordion.....
Keep em coming....
No buddy, your words were not flippant or disrespectful. You look for freedom in music and so do I. The vast quantities of performance directions in a lot of classical music makes me run a mile too!

As for my music, it's very kind of you to acknowledge and appreciate it. However, no, my music is not the future. The free bass music I write is something that many folk musicians would ignore or dislike as it is not idiomatic. Likewise, many classical musicians would find it unsophisticated or not in vogue with the contemporary styles. So what have I got? If I have nothing else, at least with my accordion, I have freedom.​
 

Siegmund

Active member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
181
Reaction score
247
Location
Montana, USA
The free bass music I write is something that many folk musicians would ignore or dislike as it is not idiomatic. Likewise, many classical musicians would find it unsophisticated or not in vogue with the contemporary styles.

Lots of people say that Philip Glass and Alan Hovhaness are "unsophisticated" and not worthy of being taken seriously as composers. But they get 100 times more airtime than, say, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gyorgi Ligeti do.

If you have something new to say, say it, in the language that makes the most sense to you. I think you're doing that very nicely, Walker.

Perhaps what I meant to imply was that 'the future of classical accordion' lies in the hands of the next composer...just playing the same tried and tested formulas of course has great value but alas does not move forward into the future.

The trick here is for the next generation of composers to figure out how to nudge the goalposts just enough to enable them to say something new, without nudging them so far that the audience covers its ears and runs away.

"Complete freedom from the rules" is... well... hard to distinguish from random noise.
I have a textbook on my shelf by Reginald Smith Brindle on serial composition (a method of ensuring all 12 notes get equal attention and no one gets set up as more important the the others.) He said the goal of this new style of composition was to let each note tell its own story, free from the need of belonging to keys and chords. My reaction when I read it was something like "that's as nonsensical as an author saying he wants to let each letter tell its own story rather than bothering to assemble them into words."
 

JerryPH

Been here for ages!
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
3,655
Reaction score
744
Location
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Obviously no one has a crystal ball, so it is all 100% conjecture, but here is my 2 cents.

The future of the accordion in classical music... hrmmmm. Not good.

In the early 80's I approached the Montreal Symphony Orchestra first to join as a classical instrument... immediate and flat out refusal. To them, the accordion was NOT an accepted classical orchestral instrument.

Second I asked as a soloist, a singular concert. The chuckles were clearly heard, if stifled. I walked out... took my Morino out of the car, went back in just as they were about to start a rehearsal... and played Chopin's Fantasy Impromptu. Jaws dropped, appreciative applause was the result... but the director's distaste in accordions made it clear that there would never be an accordion heard in the same room as the MSO. That was a couple of months before I had my "medical incident" that led to me to leaving accordions for decades. Inside I feel they were a small part of why I was fed up.

In that time (roughly 40 years?), VERY LITTLE has changed. You have a few accordionists playing with orchestras, but it is RARE. The root of classical music is in the orchestra, and until the accordion get's to be at least an "honorary member" of this very snobby club, I feel that it's future is relegated to stages of the oom-pah-loving filled rooms of people, not that there is anything wrong with that.

There will always be a few shining moments for the accordion here and there, for as long as there are some very hard core and stubborn accordionists around to wave that banner, but we are relegated to being the "cameras that shoot film in a digital age" relationship with music.

Hardly fitting for an instrument that helped put a smile on MILLIONS of people's faces in the 1940's to 1960's.
 

Tom

Been here for ages!
Site Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
2,875
Reaction score
1,374
Location
USA
Well, there is a lot of triangle in forró. Just saying!🤣🤣
 

saundersbp

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
413
Reaction score
564
Location
Yorkshire UK

Dingo40

Been here for ages!
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
3,094
Reaction score
1,916
Location
South Australia
Jerry's experience (above) is yet another illustration of how ignorance, fashion and prejudice rule many areas of professional life (not only in music).
For several decades I worked as an advisor regarding students experiencing education failure.
I soon discovered that the professional educators, in the main, preferred the students to fail using their system than to succeed using yours and, if you persevered, they would resort to dirty tactics to discredit and deplatform you.
Your best hope is to build your own orchestra around virtuoso accordionists, and go your own way.🙂
(Hence the huge rise in private
coaching colleges!😀)
 
Last edited:

Walker

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
553
Reaction score
1,176
Location
Highlands of Scotland
Perhaps, in their quest for the accordion to be taken seriously as a musical instrument, the leading accordion thinkers have taken themselves too seriously, and sometimes this has manifest itself in a rejection of the accordion's folk origins. In Russia, this is not the case, but in the west sometimes there appears to be a real separation within the accordion.

If I were ever hoping to introduce a new person to the accordion and make a good impression, sadly the LAST thing I would ever show them is the contemporary styles of classical accordion that are at times very unpleasant to listen to and lack melody. I doubt if even classical audiences would want to hear that sort of accordion music on the Proms etc.

I would personally like to see more original music being inspired by the national traditions of the country where the composer lived, whether that is types of folk, jazz, tango etc.

I would also like to see more composers writing the accordion into film music. To me, the soundtrack for motion pictures is one of the best genres that can, at times, be quite classical. I would love to hear John Barry, Hans Zimmer or John Williams make use of the accordion. That might just help popularise the accordion and integrate it into the classical sphere in a small way.​
 
Last edited:

petch

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2022
Messages
41
Reaction score
53
Location
West Yorkshire, UK
This post is probably deviating from future for accordion in classical music and more just future of accordion as something other than a polka box

I like @Walker's idea of using film soundtracks or just pop culture in general. Some of the most popular accordion videos on youtube are covers of Pirate's of the Caribbean soundtrack or Kass' Theme from a hugely popular Nintendo game. Now if you look at the general popularity of soundtracks by Hans Zimmer on that platform, I think it's safe to assume a successful film with a 'contemporary classical' or orchestral pop soundtrack written for accordion could spark interest. Who has several hundred million dollars and a good idea for a film?

It would be interesting to see if the release of Amelie had any effect on the popularity of accordion and how seriously it's taken, and if that effect would've been bigger if it wasn't a foreign language film
 

Tom

Been here for ages!
Site Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
2,875
Reaction score
1,374
Location
USA
What year will nostalgia for polka boxes begin? I mean among us aficionados. Your average person anymore has never heard an accordion polka. Never mind something "classical." Yes, the "accordion industrial complex" still persists in odd backwards situations like the upper midwest and I for one suffered thereby. Be careful what you wish for.

I think the biggest factor was the cuteness of Amelie. If we had another beautiful actress in line with an excellent composer such as old Yann, it would get more people started playing than a million Proms.
 

mtj

Newbie
Joined
Jul 22, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
4
Location
Moorpark, California
I don't know much about Classic FM as we are on Long Wave R4 but have a listen to BBC R3 (BBC Sounds app) or even better Radio France (there is an app too if DAB can't find it). Accordion gets a good airing.

Couldn't agree more! You can live on microwave meals but real food is so much more nourishing and inspiring!
With regard to BBC R3, I was looking at podcasts and there are many BBC Radio 3, any suggestion as to which of those might be appropriate?
 

saundersbp

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
413
Reaction score
564
Location
Yorkshire UK
I've found the accordion cropping up a number of times on the In Tune programme. Just Google 'bbc radio 3 accordion'
 
  • Well Done!
Reactions: mtj

mtj

Newbie
Joined
Jul 22, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
4
Location
Moorpark, California
A couple of comments:
It would be helpful if there were more music podcasts for the accordion especially classical. From my search there is more for the bandoneon than for accordion.

We saw Hanzi Wang a few years ago and she plays very beautifully. Also she does play some modern classical music written for the accordion, it seems the area around Denmark there is a community of modern classical accordion music.
 

Similar threads

Top