At a time when it seems that everybody is thinking of ways to bring the accordion to the attention of the general public, I would like to point out a few things that have been holding it back.
First is getting wellknown numbers of famous composers and transcribing them for the accordion. Take Liszt everybody seems to have made some sort of arrangement of the Second Hungarian Rhapsody. Most piano compositions have been recorded by world famous artists. How can an accordionists, irrespective of his ability, improve on Paderweski, Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and many other famous pianists, on numbers particularly written for Piano.
There have been other orchestral numbers that were intended solely for the symphony orchestra, which have been arranged for the accordion. Again, how can we improve on a recording made by the Philadelphia Orchestra and other worldrenowned groups? Or even compare favorably with them?!
Let's forget for a moment the student of the accordion. He can easily become enthused over a rendition by a fine accordionist of an arrangement for that instrumentbut what will the music critic who is in the habit of covering performances of the aforementioned think about the shortcut and simplified accordion arrangements of the master works?
Of course, many of these transcriptions were made during an era of vaudeville when time limits were paramount and when audiences would not sit through too long a session. Again in radio performances time is an important factor. I believe it is at the discretion of a performer to cut what he deems necessary to better his performance and his audience acceptance, but the published arrangements themselves should be made complete from the originals of the masters and must be in the same key. Probably you will say that the music publishers insist on these simplified arrangements of wellknown works but they realize that if we are to attain a place of prominence in the musical world we must do things that will meet the approval of ALL concernedand that means music critics as well as music directors of public schools.
We must create more music that is written specifically for the accordion. If music publishers who make a living publishing music for the accordion could institute a fund of sizable proportions, it would attract the attention of outside composers of note, who write for the symphony orchestra, opera, radio, movies, etc. such as Bela Bartok, Percy Grainger, Meredith Wilson, Morton Gould, and many others of similar caliber.
They would then attempt concertos for the accordion with orchestra, where an accordionist to perform this solo part must be truly accomplished in all respects. I am of the opinion that such performances would bring the attention of the musicloving public to the accordion and its possibilities.
Besides the prizewinning number, there would be much music of real merit tendered, which any publisher would be glad to issue forthwith, since it would definitely enhance our accordion library. Thus all contestants would reap some benefit from their efforts, to the added glory of the accordion.
I am sure the publisher of ACCORDION WORLD MAGAZINE would be glad to accept small sums from teachers, students, and accordionists towards establishing such a fund for an annual event, to be judged by a committee of our outstanding accordionists and music critics.
Let's go so that the accordion continues onward! I earnestly solicit comments, criticism, and suggestions so that we can carry on along the lines suggested.
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. staff gratefully acknowledges volunteer Benjamin Lang who assisted in the production of this article, as well as Stanley Darrow and the comprehensive American Accordion Musicological Society library.
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