Firstly; apologies to those who have not heard the extended play version, just the Bluebell Polka.
I have just given my undivided attention to the whole CD which runs to nearly 46 minutes.
Peter, that's fine for you, but useless for me. I understood that the reason Alan offered the Bluebell track to the whole of C.net was because
more than one experienced individual has already given their "undivided attention" to the full CD, and they reached conflicting conclusions.
I am willing to be convinced by what I can hear, but not simply by the fact of your personal certainty. (Neither do I disagree with you purely because of that certainty.) So far, all I have heard is Bluebell, and my ear has led me to a conclusion that differs from yours. Would your conclusion be different if you had heard only
the Bluebell track? We don't know, and it's too late to try to find out. You have
heard the others. And I haven't.
From the start until 36min 10 sec I am certain that every item is played solo, by a Maccann Duet player. Bluebell Polka is one of the items played.
And since I
am "certain" that the Bluebell track is not
a solo Maccann duet player, then it seems possible that I might also come to conclusions different from yours on some of the other tracks, if I could hear them, possibly including a conclusion that those first 36 minutes and 10 seconds were not all of the same identical player(s) and instrument(s).
Is that 36'10" section you speak of all one continuous recording? If so, and if there's no noise between numbers to indicate a change of personnel, then I would consider that to be evidence -- not "proof", but "evidence" -- that they were all played by the same person(s) and instrument(s). But then I would also expect some sort of commentary in between numbers.
If there's no continuity between numbers, then I don't think one should conclude that they were necessarily all part of the same event, or even recorded on the same day. Of course, similarities in sound are also evidence, and you apparently think they're there and convincing. But for most of us they're not there, simply because the recordings aren't "there" for us to listen to.
So I think that you should discuss your conclusions with Alan -- and with others who have the full CD, -- but I think it's both futile and unfair to try to draw us into discussion of things we're unable to examine, or to try to influence our conclusions about the Bluebell track by making a claim we
But we do have a basis for discussing the Bluebell track.
Note: for those who are not convinced, take away the melody and listen to the accompaniment. Would you really want to be playing that as your contribution to an excellent performance?
As I noted above, we don't seem to know anything about this "performance", including its purpose. So what basis do we have for speculating on the "artistic" motivations behind whoever is performing. Was it really supposed to be a spectacular display of inconsummate artistry, or merely a good bit of entertainment? I certainly find that recording of the Bluebell Polka enjoyable, and my enjoyment of the arrangement won't change if I discover I'm wrong about the number or type(s) of concertinas producing it. Maybe it was a demo recording? I do think that if those first 36'10" really are all one person (or even group), then it can't have been a competition.
Any duo would probably be better matched in terms of ability, and the "second line" of the arrangement would be much more interesting.
Why should the purpose of a recording of two players necessarily be to highlight a duo composed of equals? Why not to highlight a "soloist", with accompaniment? I can well imagine an accompanist deliberately keeping the accompaniment simple as a way of helping the "solo" part to stand out. I can also imagine a soloist being unable
to obtain a more accomplished accompanist. If your experience is that all you need to do to obtain an ideal peforming partner is to snap your fingers, then please snap yours for me.
Maybe if I could hear the full CD, I would come to the same conclusions as you. Or maybe not. But unless and until that happens, any debate of any contents other than the Bluebell will be entirely one-sided.