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

Anthony Galla-Rini's Concerto Performances: Four Articles

Galla-Rini Plays His Concerto With Denver Symphony

This article, presumably by editor John Gerstner, was reprinted in its entirety from the November 1947 issue (page 8) of Accordion World (New York).

An event of great importance to accordion enthusiasts occurred in Denver, August 19, when Anthony Galla-Rini appeared as a guest soloist with the Denver Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Saul Caston in the Summer Series. He performed his own Concerto No. 1 in G Minor. It was the first opportunity for music lovers in the Rocky Mountain region to hear an accordion with a symphony, and it was the second performance of the Galla-Rini concerto. The first performance was in 1941 in Oklahoma. Mr. Galla-Rini showed himself not only as a great master of the accordion but as a composer of equal genius to any living today.

The first movement, the Allegro Con Passione, is in Sonata form and features intricate tempo changes. The perfect coordination between orchestra and soloist was achieved in the Denver Concerto. Mr. Galla-Rini's virtuosity was displayed in the Cadenza which consisted of a recapitulation of the various themes of the first movement. The execution of the tremolo in the Cadenza was remarkable.

The second movement, the Largo, is very melodic, taking the full advantage of the many tonal effects possible on the accordion. This movement consists of three themes interwoven so that the first theme predominates.

The third movement, Saltarello, allegro vivace is in dance form the same meter as the Tarantella only faster. Included in the movement is a changing tempo, Meno which is several shades slower and offers a great contrast to the first part. From the Meno a very interesting four part fugue is developed marked fuga a tempo. The first voice is played by the accordion, the second voice by clarinet and flutes, the third by the second violins, and the fourth by the first violins. This is worked into a recapitulation of the first theme and then into a brilliant finale.

The orchestra under Mr. Caston's direction read the concerto well and it was enthusiastically received by a capacity audience. Mr. Galla-Rini responded to the insistent applause by playing Andalucia by Lecuona. It was a revelation for most of those present to hear the varied tonal effects possible with Mr. Galla-Rini's Dallape accordion. He has fifteen switches in the right hand and six in the bass which he used to the greatest advantage.

Every one who is connected with the accordion should be proud and happy that a man as great as Galla-Rini is doing so much to improve it. It is to be hoped that through future concerts of this type, the accordion will be a recognized part of the modern orchestra.

Galla-Rini Playing His Concerto With Detroit Symphony Orchestra

This article, presumably by editor John Gerstner, was reprinted in its entirety from the February 1948 issue (page 4) of Accordion World (New York).

As event of considerable importance in the accordion field will be that of March 6th when Gala-Rini will play his concerto with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. This will be one of the very few times that an accordion artist has appeared with a MAJOR symphony orchestra as assisting artist.

Gala-Rind's Concerto in G Minor is very pleasing to the listener, and shows the versatility of the accordion to the utmost. The orchestral accompaniment is by the entire stringed sections, woodwinds and percussion which blends beautifully with the tonalities of the accordion. The concerto is written in the conventional three movements; the first movement is the Allegro, Moderato Con Passion; the second is the Largo and the third is the Allegro Vivace (Movement Di Saltarello.) It requires twenty five minutes to play the concerto.

This concerto is being sponsored by the Detroit Conservatory of Music through the efforts of their faculty member, Lari Holzhauer, and Secy. of A. T. G. The Detroit Conservatory has taken much interest in the accordion and its progress, and has been the first accredited music school in the country to recognize the accordion as a major instruments and issue diplomas upon completion of the required studies, which compare with those of the piano.

Galla-Rini may well be called one of the finest exponents of the accordion and has justly earned the title of "The Worlds Foremost Concert Accordionist." He has done much pioneering in our field and through his artistry, concerts, transcriptions, arrangement and compositions, has been an important factor in the rapid progress we have made in the musical field.

He was born in Hartford, Conn and came from a musical family. His father was a well known musician and band master. At the age of six Galla-Rini began his studies and when but fourteen years of age was a proficient performer. He mastered more than twenty instruments, was a thorough student of theory, harmony, counterpoint, arranging, orchestration and composing, and is familiar with all of the instruments of the symphony orchestra. Therefore he was well qualified to write the concerto which he will perform with the Detroit Symphony.

From all of the instruments which he studied, the accordion always remained his favorite and he choose this instrument as his medium of musical expression. In 1939 he began his concert tours and has given concerts throughout the United States and Canada, usually making one or two tours a year, except during the war. In 1942 he choose Los Angeles as his permanent residence and when not on tour, he maintains a heavy teaching schedule, drawing students from all parts of the country. He is also under contract to several major movie companies, and is many times heard in the music of the pictures, some of which are "The Razor's Edge", "Rhapsody in Blue", "My Darling Clementine", "Mrs. Skeffington." He also appeared personally in several pictures.

His composition, arrangements and transcriptions are published by more than thirty publishing companies and he has recorded for several companies. His most recent recordings were made in December by the Tempo Co., noted for their excellent recordings of unusual music. In these recordings a well known harpist was used for background. As yet these recordings have not been released.

Galla-Rini married Dina Petromilli, who is the daughter of the late owner and maker of the well known Guerinni accordions, in San Francisco. They have one son, Ronald, who is eleven years of age, At present the Galla-Rini's are much engrossed in the building of a lovely new home in Los Angeles.

Galla-Rini's Detroit appearance will be followed by a concert in Toledo, March 14th which is being sponsored by the Trick Bros. Accordion Institute, and on March 16th he will play in Hamilton, Ontario, for the Waddington Musical Enterprises.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Teachers and accordion enthusiasts who are sufficiently interested and ambitious enough to demand Galla-Rini's appearance with their local symphonies, are urged to write this magazine for material and data with which to fortify their demands. We are all out in co-operating for the boost this event would give our instrument among your local serious music lovers, and its attendant expansion of the accordion activities in and from your studios.

Galla-Rini Concerto With Detroit Symphony An Outstanding Milestone For the Accordion

This article, presumably by editor John Gerstner, was reprinted in its entirety from the March 1948 issue (page 8) of Accordion World (New York).

Before a jam-packed-full audience of music lovers despite rain and sleet on March 6, the Detroit Symphony, with Galla-Rini as guest artist played his concerto with full orchestral accompaniment.

Not only is Galla-Rini to be hailed as an outstanding concert artist with our instrument, but as a composer he has given the world an addition to the "music of the immortals" . . . But don't take our word for it. We give you the opinion of J. Dorsey Callaghan, Music Critic for the "Detroit Free Press," who wrote:

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, directed by Walter Poole, took a step away from the accepted routines of "Pops" concerts in its performance Saturday night at Music Hall. Besides the familiar and well-loved works that go to make up so-called popular music fare, Poole presented the first Detroit concert performance of a concerto for accordion and orchestra.

. . . The Concerto, employing an instrument that heretofore has had but little recognition outside its own group of enthusiasts, was written and performed by Anthony Galla-Rini. Galla-Rini's composition is a completely sincere effort in the direction of rasing the accordion to the status of a symphonic instrument. It is in the conventional three movements, each with a highly melodic content.

The finale was an excellently well thought out section, with lilting airs of a distinctly Neapolitan cast. The orchestral parts lay to some degree in the classical mold, using strings and winds. The powerful voice of the solo instrument tended to dominate in ensemble with the orchestra. . . Galla-Rini is an admitted master of the accordion. The instrument, in his hands, brought forth a color range that was amazingly full. . .

Galla-Rini Concert Notes

This article, presumably by the editor John Gerstner, was reprinted in its entirety from the March 1948 issue (page 14 and 15) of Accordion World (New York).

Orchestra was planning and rehearsing for their strenuous southern tour, only a half hour was allotted for the rehearsal for Galla-Rini's concerto. The Symphony men later said the concerto music was the toughest that had been put up before them for a long time. At the conclusion of the first movement during the rehearsal, the entire orchestra applauded Galla-Rini and gave him a big hand when they finished the rehearsal. Walter Poole, the assistant conductor, who is very popular in Detroit, handled the rehearsal as he also did the concert. Dr. Karl Krueger, the conductor, was present during most of the rehearsal and later met Galla-Rini and complimented him on his fine work -- both in playing and composing. He seemed quite impressed and Holzhauer told him she hoped he would consider using the accordion sometime on the regular Symphony programs. He said "I do not know why we shouldn't -- we have had the harmonica, and the accordion certainly can give a lot. The trouble is -- we are all bound to much by tradition." They were especially glad that Galla-Rini did not use a "Mike."

THE CONCERT. -- Galla-Rini was given an ovation as he appeared on the stage, also great applause greeted each movement of the concerto (which of course was out of order) and a tremendous ovation was accorded to him at the end of the concerto. He did four encores and the audience clamored for more but as there is a time limit on the concerts, there was no more time for encores. As much of the audience were accordion enthusiasts, many had never before heard a symphony orchestra, but the orchestra was received with much enthusiasm and their program was pleasing to the listeners. Walter Poole was required to take many bows at the end of the program and much applause was given to Galla-Rini at the finish of the program. Many guests were from out of town and numbered among them were, Oakley and Melba Yale and their partner, Mr. Mack, from Buffalo. Jean Gestwick, Buffalo. Walter Grabowski and a party of eleven from New Kensington, Penna. A large aggregation came up from Toledo and other guests from points in Ohio. Mrs. Dan Petromilli and son Anthony, Chicago. Irene Barnes, Atlanta, Ga.

Following the concert many teachers and friends sojourned to one of the parlors at the Hotel Detroiter and visited until the wee hours. Sunday, some of the guests who stayed over, plus many Detroit teachers and friends had a dinner at Hucks Redford Inn with the Galla-Rinis as guests of honor.

The repercussion of the concert has all been fine. The symphony men all seemed much impressed and it was amusing to watch them as Galla-Rini was playing his encores. They all had their eyes glued to him and were trying to watch his every move. They later said their opinion of the accordion had been considerably changed. Comments of other musicians and teachers there were all good. Teachers from the Conservatory thought is [sic] was wonderful. Many thought certain numbers sounded much better on the accordion than on the piano. Others compared the concerto with Rachmaninoff, Berlioz and others and they were particularly impressed by the melodic lines.

Galla-Rini was in top form and did a super job on the concerto. The orchestra didn't even have to tune to the accordion which blended beautifully with the other instruments. The accordion plainly dominated the music and there was just one spot where the orchestra, just for a brief moment, overpowered the accordion.

We believe that this particular performance will mean a lot to the future of the accordion and we hope its results will be wide spread.

Galla-Rini played a solo recital in Toledo, Ohio March 14 in the afternoon. The place was the ballroom of the Hotel Commodore Perry. The concert was sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Organization of the Trick Bros. Accordion Institute. A fine audience was on hand and Galla-Rini played an excellently balanced program and favored with many encores. A large group of teachers and friends from Detroit were present, as were teachers from other towns. Following the concert Mr. And Mrs. Al Trick gave a reception at their lovely new home for the Galla-Rini's and many out of town and local guests.

March 16th Galla-Rini presented a concert for the Waddington Musical enterprises of Hamilton, Ontario. A spellbound audience greeted him. This was his first concert in Hamilton, and his first appearance in eastern Canada for many years. Many were in attendance from Toronto.

The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. staff gratefully acknowledges volunteer Patrick Kiley, who assisted in the production of this article, as well as Stanley Darrow and his comprehensive American Accordion Musicological Society library.

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