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Julia Wolfe

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Accordion Concerto ("True Love") (2005)
Red Poppy
Soloist(s) and Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Sub Category
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Programme Note
Julia Wolfe Accordion Concerto ("True Love") (2005)
Composer Note:

Most of my music is about the energy of a group sound — how the interlocking of individuals creates a powerful human expression. Concertos in my mind have meant "flashy"...

I began to think about what could make the experience of the concerto special — how an individual voice could ride the wave of a large ensemble. I thought of the accordion. The accordion is friendly. Who has ever been intimidated by an accordion? It is a unique beast. It has "lived" in such great contexts...

The accordion's life has been primarily with the people — on the streets, in the wedding hall, and so forth. But one thing is for sure: the accordion is about love...

— Julia Wolfe

Julia Wolfe addressed the global shortage of accordion concertos with True Love, a rattling, whining, buzzing showcase for the niche virtuoso Guy Klucevsek. Wolfe works with masses of sound that she sends slamming into each other to see what will happen when they collide. Though her experiments often continue long past the point of tiresomeness, she regularly produces some ecstatic noise.

Forget about the accordion of basement cafes in Paris or Austrian firemen's barbecues. True Love has the claustrophobic, wraparound agitation of a dance party in the Midtown Tunnel. The soloist threads his way through dense orchestral traffic, giving off siren howls and gut-thrust chords.

Justin Davidson, Newsday,25/04/2006
Ms. Wolfe's Accordion Concerto ("True Love"), in which Guy Klucevsek was the soloist, begins with and periodically returns to a steady rhythmic figure of the kind that drives many Steve Reich works. But Ms. Wolfe's own thumbprint is evident in a vibrant orchestral fabric that draws its energy from harnessed chaos. The solo line — a marathon of glissandos, swelling chords and staccato barking — was mostly buried in the welter of the ensemble. It wasn't until 16 minutes into the 20-minute score that the accordion sang a melody all its own over a suddenly muted orchestra.

There was, of course, no reason to expect that these works would be conventional concertos in the 18th- and 19th-century sense. Ms. Wolfe, for one, warned listeners in a program note that she was more interested in ensemble dynamics than in the traditional showiness of the concerto form.

Allan Kozinn, The New York Times,24/04/2006
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