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When The 3 Elements Combine: Musician - Music - Instrument

Walker

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I think this is an amazing trio:

Brilliant musician: Romano Benetello
1950s Italian (artistic) music : Ballettomania (V. Melocchi)
Perhaps the greatest piano accordion of all time, with stradella bass: Scandalli Super VI



I can't get over the tone of that accordion, and the music is crazy stylish!

Can you top this combo? I would love to hear it...
 

Tom

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Thanks Walker! Awesome talent and a great sounding accordion. At this level comparison becomes a moot point, because it's up to personal choice in music. This one, for example is not my "cup of tea" although I can appreciate the talent(s).

But, since you asked, I'll play! I really like the accordion tone and style of this guy:

 

Walker

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At this level comparison becomes a moot point, because it's up to personal choice in music.
Very well said. Absolutely, comparison is an irrelevance, and preference is subjective!

So what was the point of the thread: When The 3 Elements Combine...

Well, it is this... I have thought about the question, what is the best accordion, treble system, bass system, sound etc... But with time I have come to think differently. I now think - which combination works well for me?

I could have easily chosen:

Sir Jimmy Shand MBE
The Bluebell Polka
Hohner 'Shand' Morino.

The elements just work: musician - music - instrument. How 'good' something is doesn't really matter.

Some combinations are simply magnetic! It is this quality I saw with Romano Benetello - the musician who plays music he clearly loves, and with the instrument that suits the style... I don't think he chose the Super VI because he thought it was the best. I think he chose the instrument that 'sings his song' the way he wants.

I have owned both a Gola and a Super VI. The reason I sold them was simple - I realised I did not need them. If the instrument does not suit your style or sound, move on until you find the right combination.

When the 3 Elements Combine the results speak for themselves...

 
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Siegmund

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Three of the five recordings posted to this thread so far have struck me as really fine, each in their own way.
Three of them also introduced me to pieces of music that weren't already familiar to me.

I had considered posting that same clip of Hrustevich playing Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, one of my favorites. Yes it's easy to believe it is the pipe organ for the first few seconds of that clip. It's the first clip that comes to my mind if someone asks me for "best accordion performance you've heard" ... but, for me, from a pure tone-quality standpoint, Jupiter is excellent-but-not-in-my-top-three; while this is the best recording of the Fantasia and Fugue for accordion that I've ever seen, I can't help wondering what it'd be like with an equally fine performer on a different instrument. I decided that disqualified me (but not someone else) from posting it here.
Now, Hrustevich appears to have played on Jupiters his entire professional life, and it's an interesting question whether he would get similarly fine results on another instrument. It may well be they are a "perfectly matched pair."
 

Ffingers

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Siegmund, do tell ;-)

Your 'top three' for both tonality and playability.

I love the tone of this man's Jupiter so your take on tonality would be much appreciated; with samples if practicable.

TIA
 

Walker

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The posts of the bayanists above are really impressive! For a long time now the Russian button accordion has dominated the international scene. But over the last decade or so, I have noticed a new type of Russian accordionist emerge. It seems that, not content with turning the bayan into a high art, the Russian educational institutions have now decided to give their special attention to the piano accordion too. We now see artists who redefine the piano accordion, developing new techniques, and drawing on some underappreciated virtues of the instrument.

I should like to introduce Nikita Vlasov - he has a technique that deserves our attention. He seems to make the large surface area of the keys his 'friend'. The music, by Angelis, poses no barrier to the musician, and the AKKO accordion - well it's the 3 Elements in unison.

Also notice, around 2 minutes 40 seconds, the musician plays with a switch half-engaged...

Nikita Vlasov
Boite a Rythme - F. Angelis
AKKO accordion

 
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Jim2010

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It seems that, not content with turning the bayan into a high art, the Russian educational institutions have now decided to give their special attention to the piano accordion too. We now see artists who redefine the piano accordion, developing new techniques, and drawing on some underappreciated virtues of the instrument.
Here are two conservatory trained Piano accordionists from Russia, Lena Zybo and Nina Slyusar. They both graduated from the Music Conservatory in Minsk (under Professor N. Sevrukov) and post graduate at Russian Academy of Music in Moscow (under Professor V. Semionov). They are three times "Laureates" of international competition; 1991 and 1996 in Klingenthal and 1994 in Castelfidardo.
Nina Slyusar currently lives and teaches in Tampa, FL.

 

Walker

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Jim2010, I hope the Accordionists Forum isn't flammable, because your posts are ON FIRE?
 

Ffingers

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The piano style keyboard is probably beneficial to those who have grown up learning that convention, as most of us do, but especially for people who cross from one keyboard instrument to another frequently.
There are , of course, multi-instrumentalists who can perform excellently on anything from the Cathedral organ to the tin whistle with occasional ventures onto the concert harp.
But that ain't me... ;-)
 

Walker

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Raise y'all
What a performance! We have a great musician. We have Bach on the accordion. Also, the Pigini Nova sounds sublime.

We also have a 4th element here - which was particularly evident in Tom's choice and the Hrustevich performance too. It's the setting. I think this element has a role to play in heightening the performance - whether it's the Mediterranean, a cathedral or a forest scene.

Also, the Sidorova choice, well - it's calm and relaxing. In a world where almost everyone wants to be impressed with musical fireworks, I actually want to hear fewer notes. I want simplicity. This performance delivers.

As there have been so many Bach choices already, I would like to add one now... It is a video that has an interesting setting. I have chosen a musician who plays a Hohner Gola 459. The performer is Denis Patkovic and he plays part of the Goldberg Variations.

I would like to hear all opinions on the tone of this instrument. How does it suit the piece? What do you think of the interpretation? Do you prefer the tone of the Pigini or the Jupiter performances... or anything else?

 

Ffingers

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A side but important issue, Walker is that it is nigh impossible to fairly judge tonal quality of anything over electronic means; the accoustics of the venue, the quality of the recording devices, the competence of the recording engineers, the capabilities of the transmitting medium, the quality of the receiving devices and their ability to produce accurate representations, the environment where the listener is and last - but not least - the ability, or otherwise, of the auditory equipment in the listeners' head to distinguish the qualities of the sounds recieved!! (The latter very pertinent to my situation. :rolleyes:)
As to the "fireworks", I have always felt that the displays of 'virtuosity' in which many accordionists engage are used camouflage a lack of musicality, subtlety and sensitivity; a torrent of notes for their own sake.
The lady under discussion is more than capable of playing the rapid sequences in modern jazz, and does so on some of the recordings that I have listened to, as well as ethnic, folk and 'liscio' with equal accomplishment.
A very talented young woman.
 

JerryPH

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As there have been so many Bach choices already, I would like to add one now... It is a video that has an interesting setting. I have chosen a musician who plays a Hohner Gola 459. The performer is Denis Patkovic and he plays part of the Goldberg Variations.
... and pitter-patter goes my heart... lol
I love the sound of the Gola, but oddly enough I don't think his microphones really captures the complete dynamic range of this accordion, not something that I'd normally say, but I have heard this song played on a 459 in real life and his bass sounds a little bit overpowering. Maybe because I was in a church in Austria and was maybe 5-6 feet away from the performer, so perhaps location makes a difference. Still beautiful none the less. :)
 
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Walker

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Some very interesting comments about acoustics etc...

You know, I love to find old and interesting recordings of great accordionists, even when the recording quality is not ideal. My main interest in the accordion is in traditional music (mainly Scottish and Irish). However, I have always enjoyed listening to musicians who dedicated their lives to music, regardless of genre - but especially the classical accordion. I think anyone who has an interest in this may enjoy spending time exploring the traditions of Italy and Russia.

The Italian fisarmonica classica and the Russian bayan traditions have so much character - though they are quite different. Certainly, the Italian tradition has historically had associations with piano accordion, often quint converter, though chromatic converter and button accordion are also very frequently used. I think Salvatore di Gesualdo is a key figure in this tradition. He often played a 160 bass quint converter, with the lowest note of contra C!

This 1985 recording is made using a smaller 41 key accordion, with 120 bass.


I have great respect for the Russian tradition, which we know is mainly button accordion. I found a fascinating old recording of Friedrich Lips who is very significant in this tradition.


Each instrument has its own personality in movement, due to the construction etc. But, I think the musicians are the most important element. They have devoted themselves to their music - that much is very clear.
 

Walker

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In addition to the Italian and Russian accordion traditions where the instrument developed on very different paths, I would like to mention two further accordion traditions in the context of the classical instrument. As much as Salvatore De Gesualdo and Friedrich Lips were pivotal in their respective traditions, this is only part of the story.

I have great admiration for the German tradition, which is frequently characterised by piano accordion, with two bass manuals. Venanzio Morino was instrumental in the development of this free bass system - with three additional bassetti rows, next to the stradella bass. The German tradition is one of the longest established in classical accordion. I think it is fair to consider Stefan Hussong to be of true significance.


I think it only right to give reverence to the Scandinavian tradition, that to my mind is exemplified by Mogens Ellegaard, the great C system button accordionist. In an Accordions Worldwide interview with Friedrich Lips on 28th February 1999, in naming a list of inspiring accordionists, the first mentioned was none other than Stefan Hussong. However Friedrich Lips at the end of the list also stated 'in my opinion, the accordionist that contributed most to the accordion movement, is Mogens Ellegaard'.

Ellegaard, as well as being a brilliant innovator, clearly had a good sense of humour too...

 
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