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commentary by Pete Seeger


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I just discovered this as I was reorganizing some musical resources (and of course, stopping for the occasional browse). In his Johnny Appleseed, Jr. column in the February-March 1963 issue of Sing Out! magazine, Pete wrote:

 

It is so easy to get a lot of noise out of an accordion that it is very difficult to get music out of one. In the hands of an unfeeling person or a showoff, it can be a pain to listen to. But in the hands of a sensitive person with taste and restraint -- and also with a good deal of strength and power in arms and shoulders -- perhaps it can be just as beautiful as any instrument. Listen to the accordions accompnaying the Piatnitsky chorus on Russian folksongs, or the Louisiana cajun accordion ("windjammers" they called them -- Leadbelly could play one).

 

The little octagonal concertina, with its limited rows of buttons, is an even better instrument to accompany songs, I feel. It is not so loud as to drown out a voice, and has a sweeter tone than most big accordions. Sergei Matusewitch plays violin concertos on his concertina. In England, Alf Edwards plays some of the finest concertina music on the BBC folk music shows of Ewan MacColl and others. Sam Eskin told me he was thinking of learning the concertina to accompany sailor songs -- and I think he is exactly right. The roll and flow of the waves would fit those reedy tones far better than they do a plucked string.

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In 1978 Sergei and I did at recital at Merkin Concert Hall at Lincoln Center in NYC . We played the Bach Double in A minor and a Mazas Three Part Duet in D Major. Pete Seeger attended the performance and afterwards he came up and spoke to Sergei and me which was a real treat.

 

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In 1978 Sergei and I did at recital at Merkin Concert Hall at Lincoln Center in NYC . We played the Bach Double in A minor and a Mazas Three Part Duet in D Major. Pete Seeger attended the performance and afterwards he came up and spoke to Sergei and me which was a real treat.

 

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That sounds like a wonderful evening!

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