A different kind of French...

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Morne
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A different kind of French...

Post by Morne » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:39 pm

This is by Jean-Baptiste Lully, a French Baroque composer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfEGgfBREks

This won't be to many's taste, but an interesting thing here is the accordionist plays a somewhat rare Cavagnolo Lora, which is a converter instrument.

I can find very little about it online, except for a thread over at a German music forum:
https://translate.google.com/translate? ... rev=search
Here's a direct quote from Google translate:
A rarity among the concert accordions and one of the last of its kind. A concert bayan in the shape of a CAVAGNOLO, with the typical round corners and extravagant top made of stainless steel. Year of construction 1990.

Right side B-handle (C in 3rd row) 106 buttons staggered, 62 of them sounding, g-gis' '' (in 8-foot) range, 7 chin-stops and 15 stops behind the treble keyboard, 4-chords of it 8 'and 16' in Cassotto, a '= 443 Hz unison (no tremolo) Left side standard bass and melodic bass C-handle (C in 1st row) - CONVERTERBASS, 120 buttons staggered, 58 of them sounding in MIII range E, -cis '' '(in 8'-foot), 3 + 1 converter register + octave register, MII = 6/3-choir, MIII = 3-choir (8' + 8 'and 8' + 8 '+ 4' switchable)
The owner of the instrument in that forum mentions it weighs 15.4kg.

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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by debra » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:36 am

This sure is a very nice sounding instrument. (I wish the singer wasn't blocking us from enjoying just the accordion sound most of the time...) The sound of the melody bass is particularly nice. (The right hand appears played in MH register and while that is nice it is pretty standard and a bit sharp for my taste, more like a Russian bayan sound than an Italian convertor instrument.)
I'm not surprised about the weight. Such instruments are all more or less that heavy (give or take 1kg).
I do not quite understand why it is tuned to a=443 but for solo work it doesn't matter.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

maugein96
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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by maugein96 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:19 pm

Morne,

Marceau Verschueren (no relation to Andre Verchuren) played a similar accordion, way back when our TVs ran on gas in Scotland.

Here he is, a true "Ch'ti" from the north of France, with a B system version. He was usually known throughout his career as "V. Marceau", or just "Marceau".

He has an extra row of basses on that box, but I think the inside row is for selecting the required strength of coffee brewing in the machine at the back of the box. At the end of the performance you just put the wheels on it and drove it home. At least I hope you did, as I wouldn't like to have carried it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bttQfTkgHH0

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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by Morne » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:38 am

I found a little bit more about the Lora. According to this history of Cavagnolo, they started making the Lora in the 1980s. Looks like it was initially made for Max Bonnay and, if I'm reading that correctly, came with a 6 voice treble and a double cassotto for the melody bass. (If that is correct then it must've come with a complementary crane as that would surely have been quite a hefty box.)

Unfortunately I'm not sure about who is really playing in that video and I'm also not sure who the person in the photo is.
For a moment I thought he was balancing that on his leg using only his thumb behind the keyboard as support. But then I noticed he had some straps going under his jacket. There is one that seems to run across his chest. Would it be similar to the chest strap mentioned in this thread?

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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by maugein96 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:13 am

Morne wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:38 am
For a moment I thought he was balancing that on his leg using only his thumb behind the keyboard as support. But then I noticed he had some straps going under his jacket. There is one that seems to run across his chest. Would it be similar to the chest strap mentioned in this thread?
Morne,

He's probably wearing a Belgian harness, which is indeed the strap mentioned in the other thread. The straps go over the shoulders and under the arm and are attached to the top bracket of the accordion only. They usually feature a clip/stud fastening attachment so that the harness can be released by the player from a playing position.

They don't seem to have caught on outside of Belgium and Northern France, presumably as there is a danger of dropping the accordion when strapping it on and taking it off.

I had no knowledge of the Lora, and the accordion that Marceau is playing (whatever model it was) would have been from after 1948, when Cavagnolo adopted the current style of grille. I wouldn't imagine many Loras were made, as the last one was built in 1990, when the French government passed a law which prohibited accordions being used for weight training! :roll:

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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by maugein96 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:27 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:13 am
Morne wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:38 am
For a moment I thought he was balancing that on his leg using only his thumb behind the keyboard as support. But then I noticed he had some straps going under his jacket. There is one that seems to run across his chest. Would it be similar to the chest strap mentioned in this thread?
Morne,

He's probably wearing a Belgian harness, which is indeed the strap mentioned in the other thread. The straps go over the shoulders and under the arm and are attached to the top bracket of the accordion only. They usually feature a clip/stud fastening attachment so that the harness can be released by the player from a playing position.

They don't seem to have caught on outside of Belgium and Northern France, presumably as there is a danger of dropping the accordion when strapping it on and taking it off.

I had no knowledge of the Lora, and the accordion that Marceau is playing (whatever model it was) would have been from after 1948, when Cavagnolo adopted the current style of grille. You'll see there are no chin registers on that model. I do believe Andre Astier, Joss Baselli, Marcel Azzola, and Joe Rossi all played instruments of that size, but without chin registers and/or bass converter. Their instruments were apparently a bigger version of the Vedette 10 model, with enough treble buttons to span 5 octaves. As such they would have been 4 or 5 voice treble, but not 6. If the Lora had 6 voices, then they would have been formidable instruments indeed. Marceau and Joss Baselli were from coal mining families (as am I), and maybe the weight never bothered them much. In my younger days it wouldn't have bothered me either, but these days a three voice is about as much as I want to carry.

I wouldn't imagine many Loras were made, as the last one was built in 1990, when the French government passed a law which prohibited accordions being used for weight training! :roll:

Here is a pic of one :-
Cavagnolo Lora.jpg









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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by Morne » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:54 pm

John, I have my doubts about that 6 voice business, but have no way of verifying it. I would still love to see the guts of such a beast, though.

Does the name Max Bonnay ring any bells from back in the coal-driven TV days? He seems to have won a couple of accordion competitions back in the day (http://www.max-bonnay.com/bio-commencement.html). He was/is active more in the classical and tango scenes, so I don't suppose he would've been what you were looking for at the time.

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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by maugein96 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:42 pm

Hi Morne,

Not sure what age he is, but I don't think he was around when I began to take an interest in the French box (again)in the 70s.

Max Bonnay worked with Andre Astier, an eminent French accordionist famous in the musette genre, but who played all styles, to compile a little known French language intro to the world of free bass accordion. Other than that, his name has cropped up from time to time, but I have never really been into classical music on any instrument, so I had actually forgot he existed until you mentioned him.

Andre Astier also collaborated with Joss Baselli to compile a French CBA method. Astier was a conservatory trained "progressive" musician who introduced elements of other styles into French musette, and his musette compositions were renowned as being technically difficult (compared to the musette standards).

Here is a link to an advert for the publication I mentioned. I've never seen it, and have no idea what it covers.

https://www.musicroom.com/product-detai ... nt1113373/

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Re: A different kind of French...

Post by Morne » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:17 am

Thanks, John.

I wonder how that publication compares to Ellegaard's. Now if only collecting methods books actually transferred skills then I would probably get that one too...

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