The Free-Reed Journal
Articles and Essays Featuring Classical Free-Reed Instruments and Performers

Action on the AIR WAVES

by Hilding Bergquist
Minneapolis, Minn.

This article was reprinted in its entirety from the February 1940 issue of Accordion World (New York).

Oh, for the day when America can turn her radio dial and hear her star concert accordionists in special network Programs! That such rightful recognition has not been given to the accordion would almost seem a riddle when one considers the prestige and admiration that has been built up for it by Magnante (certainly already the world's most privileged radio accordionist) Frosini (and his wealth of meritorious accordion works) Galla Rini (and his orchestrally-treated accordion arrange-ments), Pietro (with his pioneering and prestige), etc., etc. I think it is particularly heartbreaking that the nation cannot get to hear Fro-sini's works played over the networks. He has written some of the loveliest melodies imaginable. Really. So much highly lauded effort is wholly transient, and it is for this reason I find that jewel of permanence in the works of Frosini. A devotee of euphony and beauty in music, his whole output is ingratiating. His stock of melodies seems exhaustless flowers in the garden of music.

Just what is this tradition that every radio program has to be made up of a little bit of everything? Do the "all-powerful" of radio think that the public is so restless that it cannot listen to an unbroken period of pure instrumental music (accordion in our case)? The entire country is more than ever alive with response to superfine musical achievements, and he who declares that there is no general interest in the subject only displays his ignorance of the true condition. Listeners, sponsors, producers, and advertising agencies that refuse to be convinced are merely content to go along the line of least resistance.

On the other hand it is probable that the networks have not been approached by a concert accordionist wishing to play purely concert music. If they were so approached it would be difficult to understand the accordionist being refused providing he was strictly a concert artist and not to be more happily placed in light entertainment programs.

The saddest mistake a radio accordionist can make is to suppose that he must lower his musical standards in order to make himself popular. The more meritorious music he gives audiences, the more they will accept him and his accordion. This is one reason why the networks do not give more scope to the accordion. Another reason is that all you accordion enthusiasts haven't written forcibly and frequently enough to them thereby creating such a demand that they would dismiss the idea as ridiculous and be more ready to accede to your wishes.

The accordion has blossomed into a musical flower whose tonal fragrance is permeating deep into the hearts of the people and to see it happily realized as a network feature would indeed be a boon for listeners as well as the performers.

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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