If the‘piano with straps’or accordion now features within chamber music ensembles on a regular basis, the repertoire for accordion and symphony orchestra is still very meagre. To this day, not one composer has devised a real ‘piece concertante’for solo accordion and orchestra based on the original repertoire of this instrument.
Broadening accordion repertoire
With this in mind, Félicien Brut and the composer Thibault Perrine have endeavoured to surprise classical music lovers and attract fans of popular music to symphony concerts. After having established a successful initial partnership and measured the success encountered by Le Pari des Bretelles, they have embarked upon a new creation: Caprice d’accordéoniste. This fantasy for accordion and symphony orchestra, inspired by very famous themes from musette or accordion music repertoire, premiered in July 2018, in Royan, in front of a crowd of 60,000 people at Un Violon sur le Sable.
Thibault Perrine then began to write Souvenirs de bal, a concerto for accordion and orchestra. This piece lasting about 25 minutes adopts the most common form for solo instrument, constructed around a unique theme borrowed from popular repertoire of course. This theme infiltrates the whole work but it is only cited fully and clearly recognisable at the end of the piece, in a sort of culmination of delicacy and expressive ambiguity. The orchestration envisages forty or so musicians (an orchestra with two of each instrument).
Félicien premiered this concerto on 28th April 2019 with the Orchestre de Cannes, headed by its young and talented musical director Benjamin Lévy. The concert programme also includes, in the first part, Caprice d’accordéoniste by Thibault Perrine, Three Symphonic Tangos by Astor Piazzolla, as well as two works by Richard Galliano for accordion and string orchestra: Petite Suite française and Tango pour Claude.