Book One:All music composed by Jeanette and Lars Dyremose.
label/publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen AS
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Review by Henry Doktorski:
One of the pleasures of my life (among many) is relaxing on a comfortable sofa in my living room listening to good music on my stereo while simultaneously reading from the music score. Score one point (among many) for Jeanette and Lars Dyremose! (The dynamic Dyremose duo may be familiar to The Free-Reed Review readers from their Sparkling Moments CD which I reviewed earlier this year.)
The present anthology, Dyremose Stykker, is a wonderful collection of pedagogical pieces composed by Jeanette and Lars Dyremose over a fifty-year span especially for their students, and the two-volume CD set was recorded by their students. If we can judge the pudding by the eating, they have been marvelously successful, as their students have won many championships and gone on to become successful concert accordionists (Morten Rossen in particular comes to mind).
The compositions, even the simpler pieces for beginner students, are interesting to play and listen to due to varied melodies and striking rhythmic and dynamic figures. Primary consideration is given to the bellows. Jeanette Dyremose wrote, "The bellows are not just the most visually unique characteristic of the accordion, they are the life-giving heart of the instrument. . . The bellows breath life into the music and the performer must analyze, arrange and prepare the musical works according to this realization."
The compositions are stylistically diverse (including rumba, boogie, and various nationalities of folk music) which helps prepare students to take advantage of whatever employment they can find after graduating, whether classical or popular music. Most of the pieces are written for standard stradella left-hand system, but several pieces are also written for free-bass left-hand system.
A few compositions deserve special mention. Mexican Carnival is a whopping seven-minute-long fifteen page set of variations on the Mexican Hat Dance. The accordion frolics along at breakneck speed accompanied by a battery of percussion as well as guitar and bass guitar. Danish Rhapsody is a duet for accordion and melody instrument, masterfully played on the CD by an unknown harmonica player.
The seven-volume accordion course is substantial, but I believe the pieces increase in difficulty too rapidly for most beginners; the majority of students would need to use other supplemental material to insure steady progress. But this may be due simply to my cultural conditioning; perhaps Danish students are more talented than my American students! Regardless, Lars and Jeanette Dyremose have established an accordion method which I believe will set a new standard for accordion pedagogy.
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