On June 19th, just before he sailed for England, Tollefsen was the soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Doctor Ringwall. This was the first time this famous orchestra featured the accordion. The concert was held at the huge Cleveland Public Auditorium. From the "Cleveland News": "A blond Norweigan, Toralf Tollefsen, worked magic with his accordion as the aftermath of a stirring Pop concert salute to Charles V. Rychlik, beloved Cleveland teacher and composer, observing his 76th anniversary."
"This Tollefsen chap, tall and comely, is really an artist with the accordion. We first frey television program. And heard him on the Arthur God his playing of the Dance of the Hours music - his own arrangement - with the orchestra won him many curtain calls. He was amazing too, in his playing of the overture to "the Marriage of Figaro", a vivid presentation of this tricky music on an instrument more adapted to simpler fare."
"Tollefsen played two movements from Concerto in E for Accordion and Orchestra by Pietro Deiro, which was interesting music." For encores he gave a marvelous performance of the Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 within the limitations of his instrument and a Tollefsen version of "Twelth Street Rag."
The Cleveland Press, was equally high in its praise with a five column headline: "Skillful Accordionist Puts Spice In Summer Fare." "Toralf Tollefsen, throughout his performance played his instrument skillfully and with good musical feeling."
His playing of the overture of "The Marriage of Figaro" with the orchestra received particular praise.
"Tollefsen seemed to get better the further he got away from strict classical pretensions. "The Dance of the Hours" had a good lilt, the strict real fire from Liszt's "Hungarian Dance no. 2" and his version of the "Twelfth Street Rag" was highly entertaining. The audience applauded warmly."
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. staff gratefully acknowledges volunteer Benjamin Lang who assisted in the production of this article, as well as Stanley Darrow and the comprehensive American Accordion Musicological Society library.
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