Paris Moscou Deserves Accordion Music

Let’s shift the Eiffel Tower on Red Square

DOMI EMORINE — ROMAN JBANOV — DUO PARIS MOSCOU — FRANCK ANGELIS — 2018

We are speaking here of the Russian Bayan Chromatic accordion, a very special and even unique instrument at the present moment. It was developed in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century and it became very popular in Russia of course, but also in Western Europe, in France in particular. In Russia, it is mainly used for classical and traditional music, whereas in France it is mostly used for musette music, popular accordion music. This particular chromatic instrument has many particularities that enable it to be very flexible in sound and rhythm. It sure has a range that the traditional accordion does not have.

In this production dedicated to Franck Angelis, a composer widely used by the Duo Paris Moscou, the music is typical of the work of this group, this duet, that tries to mix and even merge, popular music, both French and Russian, and classical music, we are often surprised by the great virtuosity the two accordionists can demonstrate in their systematic trying to rebuild or reconstruct the sonorities, the rhythms and the harmonies of the various traditions they bring together and you will recognize them, from the very traditional Russian languorous slightly sad wailing music to the extremely dynamic and flowering dance and even trance at times French tradition used to marathon performances.

From Wazemmes Accordion Festival in Lille to the Centre National & International de Musique & d’Accordéon (CNIMA) in Saint-Sauves-d’Auvergne, there is only one step and I cross it as easily as possible. From Lucien Tasnière and his traditional Northern French accordion accompanying his dance-prone songs in Picard to Roman Jbanov and his Russian tradition that loves changing tempos along with the songs we all know behind. Ah! Kalinka! I have taught it in North Carolina to some High School students a long time ago, and to Domi Emorine and her more traditional French style of the great accordionists we all know, Marcel Azzola and Yvette Horner, essentially in music hall music, or the jazzier Bernard Lubat, there is such a variety of styles and choice a composer, like here Franck Angelis born in 1962, a French accordion composer and teacher (Gennevilliers music school), can become imaginative and creative, inventive and cross all borders. Such a composer can become the voice of some shamanism dedicated to the soul of human culture and heritage as much as the mind of some future that has to be invented from something that looks like scratch and is not quite completely that tabula rasa some may envision.

So just get into this music and let yourself be carried away and air-borne into the other side of the mental curtain that hides our deepest desire to be trans-musical and to get together all the traditions that divide us and create a new forest of mixed essences that could bring up the real unitary diversity we need in our global world more than ever, and you will recognize the melody that is behind the last track of this CD. As a composer, Angelis was greatly impressed by the Russian school and the compositions of his favorite composers Zolotaryov and Sofia Gubaidulina, who, along with other well-known composers, helped to elevate accordion literature. Now F. Angelis is trying to make a positive impact on the accordion world himself. In his compositions, he tries to establish his own new and original modern style.

The most surprising element will be that they borrow, they transform and they voluntarily do not mash-up too much so that we do recognize the borrowings. I can imagine many living composers and authors who would shout “Authors’ rights” and “Moral right,” but the accordion enables musicians to consider fair use is the only possible solution, even in France. One day SACEM is going to wake up and come up, many ups don’t you think for that old lady, with all the references that are not provided on the CD, and they might even attach a bill, but well I guess all accordionists in the world will unite because accordion music is first of all and above all a borrowing creativity that can in no way be muzzled down by some narrow minds.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

Franck Angelis

ROMAN JBANOV — FANTAISIES RUSSES — 1999

The accordion is the star and Roman Jbanov is only the servant of this star and he sure knows how to serve it right. He is helped by the “grand orchestre d’instruments populaires russes” conducted by Vladimir Gousev.

I must say Derbienko’s Concerto n°3 for accordion and orchestra is quite convincing as for the literally symphonic power of the accordion. It always surprises us with changes of tempos and whimsical jumps in sonorities and harmony. It is always its own, free and probably undominatable, uncontrollable. It has to run its course freely in the vast Russian plains over the vast snowy and icy expanses of Siberia in the winter, the Russian winter. In this Russian music, there is always the call to the untamed and untamable nature that is as much cosmic as it is subterranean. You can hear the deepest desires and impulses of yours resonating in the vast hollow Paleolithic caves embellished as some say, decorated for some others, and simply peopled with hundreds of paintings, drawings, carvings of animals, transhuman beings, and trans-animal monsters, and all kinds of signs that wink at us as if they were a big joke in the face of some god.

You sure can feel and see the limitless dreams of yours that may turn into nightmares now and then, but that will be for your own pleasure because in the densest pleasure dome experience you may go through in this Russian Kubla Khan the tempest of a nightmare, the tornado or the hurricane of such a completely unfathomable natural event is the utmost and most intense pleasure you can experience within pleasure itself. There is no bottom to that abyss and there is no end to that pleasure of pleasures, pleasurest pleasure of all pleasures. The second track of the CD is such a miracle.

You will always be able to rest on the third track were Domi Emorine comes by and accompanies Roman Jbanov in something composed by Dittel that is just Russian fantasy, Russian Fantaisie, Russian fancy or any other F-word you may like for this Russian flight over a nest full of fledglings of the famous firebird, in fact some kind of Phoenix or bird of paradise comes back in the middle of a sentence to reintroduce some old ritornello that will bang your head against the sky and then do not fear there will be more trips to the other side of reasonable doubt.

Koniaiev will come in track four to shake you till you cannot dance anymore, till you cannot think anymore and then you will finally see your animal spirit, your bird sprite, and you will be able to fly over the desolate world that is under and whose rumor and noise you can hear, even enjoy because you are some distance over it. No trump card in that, just the conviction that there is always a higher level of sky over the turmoil of this world and this life. Yet you jump into this turmoil for just a few seconds to enjoy the thrills of the maelstrom and then soar back up over it and contemplate the sad state of unconsciousness of this world of ours.

Then some Trojan composer proposes us a series of fairy tales for the accordion. Fairy tales are for children, they say, but they are wrong. They are for everyone and they have the charm of dreaming awake and alive in the world around us that we do not see anymore except through the eyes of the fairy that transforms it into some wild forest with animals that speak and plants that walk.

The sleeping princess does not seem to have any pea under her back, under the sheet of her bed. She just sleeps peacefully probably dreaming of a prince to wake her up, or maybe another princess in those days of gender liberation. Who cares about the origin of a kiss as long as it is a kiss.

And a kiss is like a magic box full of treasures, gold and silver, silk and crowns, with plenty of jewels. But in a treasure chest, there is always the little goblin that will try to take you by surprise. Beware! Boys and girls! Treasure boxes can be surprising, threatening even.

And that’s how a princess one day is enchanted by some evil dragon that some brave prince will have to get rid of in a heroic and quasi-divine fight. Listen to the flying noise of the swirling sword. In such fairy tales it is always the handsome prince that wins and then he gets the princess as his prize. Will there ever be one composer who will make the prince fall in love with the dragon and the dragon with the prince? Just for fun, please?

That would certainly be a great naughty or merry-go-round carousel which will lead us to the sailor from some faraway harbor on some distant continent who could play the enchanted harmonica, or accordion if you prefer, and that music will definitely teach everyone a lesson. Without the enchanting music of this accordion, the world is lost to perdition and will never live one more day. But the music brings the renewing and renaissance of this world of fairies into some Eden-like and acrobatic universe where Jack can climb a beanstalk into the den of some giant ogre who enjoys eating up little boys, and girls the same by the way. The magic is in the music you can play on your harmonica or accordion. So hurry up and learn.

And this acrobatic tale will bring some peace and rest, some contemplation and enjoyment, even if it is titillating you with some extravagant dance or gymnastics.

Gridin will complete this trip into the fantastic Russian mind with a descent in some arena. Let’s hope the music will keep the lions under some charm and the gladiators under some protection against the deadly caprices of some Roman emperor who loves a man killing another man so much he could bathe in the blood of the killed one. That arena is more the arena of some modern time circus with horses and other rapid animals presenting their tricks with light human figures on top of their backs. But look how they can even dance the polka or the mazurka, and why not since there are savant horses well-trained and well-educated into charming children and grandparents alike in that arena. And it works. The Russian magic of this circus is still working and we can forget Las Vegas and the poker games.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

DUO PARIS MOSCOU — DOMI & JBANOV ROMAN EMORINE — 2007

L’ACCORDÉON DE CONCERT BAYAN EST FABULEUX

Cet accordéoniste est apparu comme une vision venue d’ailleurs en l’église d’Olmet le 12 Août 2017 avec une figurante soprano pour mettre un peu de voix sur sa musique. Il ne joue que d’un seul instrument, l’accordéon de concert, version russo-italienne baptisée en Russie le Bayan, ainsi nommé en l’honneur du barde du 11ème siècle Boïane, un personnage chanteur et conteur apparaissant dans le « Dit de la Campagne d’Igor » et qui a sa statue a Troubtchevsk en Russie. Il s’agit d’un accordéon à basses chromatiques, traditionnellement en claviers boutons. Comme tous les basses chromatiques modernes, cet instrument est équipé d’un convertisseur pour l’utilisation en basses standard (ou composées). Le bayan russe se distingue également des basses chromatiques occidentaux par sa musique.

Depuis une dizaine d’années, les fabricants italiens produisent leurs modèles de concert avec des basses montées sur plaque. Les lames russes présentent par ailleurs un profil rectangulaire, alors que pour la musique italienne, notamment, ceci est réservé aux meilleures productions (a mano), le profil habituel étant trapézoïdal. Ces aspects apportent à la musique plus de richesse harmonique et de puissance.

Roman Jbanov est un virtuose et enseignant de cet instrument attaché à l’Auvergne depuis l’an 2000.

« En 2000, il fait partie de la nouvelle équipe pédagogique du Centre International de Musique et d’Accordéon (C.N.I.M.A.) dirigé par Jacques Mornet et plus tard par Nathalie Boucheix à Saint-Sauves d’Auvergne. […] En parallèle à son activité pédagogique, Roman continue à faire de très nombreux concerts en tant que soliste mais, également, au sein du duo « Duo Paris-Moscou » qu’il crée avec l’accordéoniste française Domi Emorine.

« Depuis 2009 il est Président de l’association culturelle franco-russe « Sancyberie ». Sancybérie, Mairie, Le Bourg, 63950 Saint Sauves d’Auvergne, Tel: 06.72.86.21.20, E-Mail : Président: roman@sancyberie.com. […] Il anime des master-classes avec Domi Emorine dans le cadre de stages d’été de l’Académie musicale d’été « Les Rencontres Musicales des Monts Dore » à La Bourboule depuis 2003.

Roman Jbanov

« Au cœur des Monts d’Auvergne, les stations du Mont-Dore et de La Bourboule accueillent, entre juillet et août, quelques grands noms de la musique pour des master-classes et des moments musicaux. De l’accordéon au violoncelle, de la voix au clavecin, le « Meeting Musical des Monts Dore » propose depuis 1984 des stages à destination des musiciens amateurs et futurs professionnels. Chaque stage se conclut par une « séance musicale » ouverte au public. Parallèlement, les professeurs invités participent à la programmation du festival. » (d’après https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Jbanov.)

Cet accordéon de concert est un instrument fondamental tant pour la musique populaire, traditionnelle ou non, que pour la musique classique. Il permet d’abord d’avoir deux claviers totalement séparés et autonomes et non nécessairement préréglés. Ainsi la main gauche peut vraiment être une basse continue ou un accompagnement pour la main droite. La main droite et son clavier à boutons lui aussi a en plus un certain nombre de touches de sélection de sonorité comme sur un orgue et on peut donc passer de l’orgue simple à de nombreux instruments de l’orchestre. C’est un instrument beaucoup plus malléable, flexible, même volatile que l’accordéon courant, diatonique ou chromatique.

C’est cette circulation des personnes dans le champ artistique qui caractérise aujourd’hui l’Europe et toute atteinte à cette liberté de mouvement est une attaque contre la culture européenne qui ne peut pas être enfermée à l’intérieur de frontières dites nationales. Si on considère la culture et sa diversité comme étant un droit de l’homme, elle doit l’être comme un droit de création de ceux qui se consacrent à sa création, et comme un droit de réception pour ceux qui ne sont pas créateurs. L’enjeu de cette propriété intellectuelle est énorme dans le monde médiatique globalisé qui est le nôtre et on peut assister à la disparition des sites pirates d’il y a une dizaine d’années au profit de sites de streaming qui respectent les droits des créateurs et les droits des auditeurs ou spectateurs, et le succès de Netflix, d’Amazon Music et d’Amazon Vidéo pour n’en citer que quelques-uns, sans compter les sites d’édition virtuelle de :livres et de streaming de ces livres sur liseuses spécifiques comme Kindle, montre bien que cela correspond à l’attente et à l’éthique du public.

Je ne peux que regretter cependant que les CD de Roman Jbanov ne soient pas disponibles dans les boutiques réelles ou virtuelles existantes à l’heure actuelle et que l’on doive passer par l’artiste ou passer après un concert pour avoir accès à ses œuvres, à son travail, de façon non plus éphémère mais permanente.

Rapprochez-vous donc de Sancybérie et de Roman Jbanov lui-même pour obtenir les CD, autres que celui-ci. Il n’en existe qu’un seul sur la plateforme Amazon.fr justement.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU, 13 août 2017

Churches are just the treasure chest of such music