from Les Fêtes d’Hêbê by
Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) and subsequently arranged for
symphony orchestra by Felix Mottl (1856-1911) describes a rustic
French dance during the opera. This arrangement for accordion
orchestra is by the most prolific of all arrangers for accordion,
Anthony Galla-Rini. It is lively and spirited.
Film Noir: City at Night was composed
by the busy and successful award-winning Hollywood composer, Leonard
Stack, for the World Accordion Orchestra II and premiered under
the direction of Joan Sommers in Glasgow, Scotland in October
of 2008 with an orchestra of 152 players. The programmatic
idea is of a dark deserted street at night where menace lurks.
The second theme announces a “floozy” sauntering in
with a lonely, deserted, and expressive feeling. The middle
section increases in tension and violence as all sorts of mayhem
occurs. Finally, the main theme is recapitulated and it
ends with a quiet ominousness. The music is reminiscent
of the film noir movies of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Andante cantabile from Serenade, Op. 39 by
the Dutch composer, Alexander Comitas (the pseudonym for Eduard
de Boer, born 1957), is the first movement of a four movement
composition for accordion orchestra. After hearing the last
two movements of the piece performed in Scotland by the Dutch
accordion orchestra, Alpha Opus 2, conducted by Sergei
Latychev, Joan expressed interest in obtaining the piece for UMKC.
The composer and she then had several “conversations”
through e-mail and he sent the music to her. Eventually
the UMKC group will perform the complete composition. It
is a deserving addition to the accordion repertoire. While
it is new, and from The Netherlands, it is not avant-garde as
we so often expect from the Dutch.
Keniade (Suite in Four Movements)
was written by Fritz Dobler (Born 1927), German accordionist,
composer, university professor, and early winner of the coveted
Coupe Mondiale competition. This piece depicts his visit
to Kenya and describes his experiences through the titles: With
Herbert on Safari, Love Play of the Hippos, Jumping Gazelles,
and Meeting of the Maassai Warriors. Although Joan
Sommers had conducted several of Professor Dobler’s compositions
during the many years of the UMKC Accordion Orchestra, she had
never met him until May of 2007 when she was a guest of the Hof
(Germany) Accordion Orchestra during its sojourn to compete in
the World Music Festival in Innsbruck, Austria. Both she
and Kevin Friedrich had the great pleasure of seeing the composer
conduct the complete work on one of the inspirational concerts
they attended. Immediately, both of them announced almost
simultaneously that the UMKC Accordion Orchestra just simply had
to perform this work. We believe you will understand why
we felt this way after you also hear it.
The Gem of the Kaipara was written in honor of
long-time accordion and arts supporter, the late Jenny Maioha
Cocurullo, a respected and loved citizen of Dargaville, New Zealand.
Jenny (1934-2001) always promoted the Kaipara region of NZ, where
she lived, as the “Gem of the North.” However, she
in turn was considered “The Gem of the Kaipara,” thus
the title of the composition.
Kevin Friedrich asked Gary Daverne to write this work to serve
as a musical tribute to Jenny, his long-time friend and mentor,
and the project was funded by a grant from the Kaipara District
Council, in addition to other donations, and was premiered in
Dargaville on May 11, 2002 by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra
Strings and Percussion with Kevin as accordion soloist, conducted
by Gary Daverne. The composer subsequently arranged the
orchestral accompaniment for accordion orchestra, the version
you will hear today.
The introduction of the piece is quite mysterious in nature, with
the lower tones providing a subtle bagpipe-like drone and the
airy melody and soft percussive effects reminiscent of the awakening
of the lush Kauri (native NZ tree) forests and countryside of
the Kaipara from its thick blanketing of dawn fog. The main
themes are written around Jenny’s name and the name of the
region, the Kaipara. The lyrical re-occurring melody is
first heard by the accordion with orchestral accompaniment, and
then switches to the orchestra accompanied by the accordion.
After working through an animated and rhythmical jig-like section
depicting Jenny’s boundless energy, many interests and Scottish
heritage, the orchestra restates the soaring melody expressing
the vast expansiveness and sweeping landscapes of the Kaipara
region. Kevin Friedrich has just returned from performing
the piece with the Auckland, NZ Symphony Orchestra on May 3 and
May 10 under the direction of the composer, Gary Daverne.
Suite from Video Games Live was arranged
by Joan Sommers for the 2009 World Accordion Orchestra III performance
to be given on August 25 in Auckland, New Zealand. The WAO
III will be comprised of musicians from all over the world and
will perform three pieces. Gary Daverne (NZ) will conduct
his new composition Auckland March, Fritz Dobler (Germany)
will conduct two movements from his composition Slawische
Skizzen, and Joan Sommers will conduct her new arrangement
of Suite from Video Games Live.
The video being shown today has been compiled by Caitlin Horsmon,
Assistant Professor of Film & Media Arts at UMKC, to whom
we are extremely grateful.
The music for many of the popular video games on the market has
become somewhat of a phenomenon in that the live concerts presenting
this music have been drawing thousands of people to events held
throughout the world. The debut performance of Video
Games Live took place on July 6th, 2005 at the world
famous Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic and over 11,000
people. Similar concerts presented by orchestras such as
the Yale University Symphony Orchestra and within many other educational
institutions have also continued to draw large crowds of attendees.
Brief episodes of some of the music heard on the Hollywood Bowl
Concert (Halo, Kingdom Hearts, Advent Rising)
is included in the abbreviated Suite being performed
Two of the most successful composers of this type of music state:
“Our dream when we started working on Video Games Live
in 2002 was to demonstrate how artistic and culturally significant
video games have become. Aside from opening the eyes of
non-gamers to our industry, our goal is to help usher in a whole
new generation of people to appreciate symphonic music.
Video Games Live has become the most successful video
game tour in the world. As we continue to travel around
the globe, we carry on our commitment to reaffirm that video games
have evolved into a true art form that become the entertainment
of choice for millions in the 21st century.” A search
on the internet will yield hundreds of such performances of this
music, all with live symphonic orchestral accompaniments to projected
scenes from the huge varieties of video games being produced today.
Some events also draw large numbers of attendees dressed in costumes
representing various characters shown in these games.
Faust – Walzer is composed by
Charles Gounod and arranged by Willi Műnch for accordion
orchestra. While there are many well-known waltzes, often
from the Strauss family of Austria, this is one of the most familiar
and beautiful melodies, but this time by the famous French composer
of operas, Charles Gounod. The opera Faust, premiered
in 1859, was his most successful work and he spent the rest of
his life trying to write another one like it. The waltz
is infectious with its delicate energy and lilting melodic style.
Brasilia Potpouri is also
arranged by Willi Műnch. Originally arranged for one
of the many accordion orchestras in Germany, as was the Faust
Waltz, this medley introduces three very familiar pieces in a
Latin American style so popular in previous years, over a long
period of time, and continuing even today: Brasil (Ary
Barroso), El Cumbanchero (Rafael Hernandez) and Mambo
Jambo (Perez Prado).