My Concertina and Piano Page

         Hello and welcome !   I hope you enjoy the music.

Firstly I would like to introduce you to my father, Bramwell, sadly no longer with us, but who was a great exponent of the concertina, an instrument that for many years was not taken seriously and was usually only associated with folk music and sea shanties. I wonder if that attitude still persists ?

I would like to show, by the recordings I have made on this page of my father, that the concertina, played expertly, is a most versatile instrument with great musical potential.

Bram was brought up in a Salvation Army home. His parents were officers and both of them, I think, certainly his mother, played the concertina to accompany the singing in the meetings when a band was not available. This was quite common especially in the early days of the Army. It was not surprising then that Bram, who was later to become an officer, learnt to play.

Another distinguished concertina player, Archie Burgess, also a Salvation Army officer and a contemporary of his, was to become his friend and mentor. He is referred to in a recorded conversation I had with my father in 1976 which you will will find further down this page.

    I have many memories from early childhood of my father playing excerpts from operas and symphonies. In particular The Pilgrims' Chorus and Grand March from Tannhauser made a strong impression on me. Other favourites included Balfe's Bohemian Girl, In a Monastery Garden, and a wide rich miscellany of much more music both light and classical was in his repertoire. I was lucky to be brought up in such a musical environment.

I remember also, when very young, listening to a record of my Dad playing Mozart's " Glory to God in the Highest" on an old wind-up gramophone ! This was on one side of a "78"record with a Regal Zonophone label which was released about 1936. The other side featured Archie Burgess playing Barnby's "Sweet and Low." ( I have included both of these in my selection below)

In the following selection of recordings I am accompanying my father on the piano.  To listen please click on the titles.

The first piece was, I think, originally written for the cello, but on the concertina has an attractive plaintive quality
Apres un Reve - Faure

Now for an old favourite which shows off the beautiful sonority and sustaining power of the concertina, J.S. Bach's "Air on the G string." which is followed by a further selection of music.
Air on the G string - J.S.Bach
Larghetto- Haydn
Glory to God in the Highest - Mozart
Sweet and Low - Barnby
The Swan - Saint-Saens
Solvieg's Song - Grieg
Alleluia - Mozart
A conversation I had with my father in 1976. He was then 71 years old and was playing better than ever.
Bram talks about the concertina

The next piece was quite challenging, and was also originally scored for cello and piano.

Beethoven Variations on a theme of Mozart from The Magic Flute


The violin compositions of Fritz Kreisler, transcribed for concertina, work very well, and the following arrangement of the Liebeslied exploits the harmonic capabilities of the instrument. ( I recently discovered this on cassette so the sound quality may not be so good as the other items. )
Liebeslied - Kreisler

In addition to playing classical piano, I enjoy improvising, and making my own arrangements of music of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and other composers from the nostalgic golden era of light music.
The following tunes are just a few of my favourites.To hear me play, please click your mouse on the song titles below.

The Bridge of Sighs
Let's face the music : Embraceable you
Can't help lovin' that man
Time after Time

Now, to conclude our programme   Melodies from La Traviata - Verdi

Below, there are some sites you might like to visit.

International Concertina Association.
My brother Gordon's music website.

I do hope that you have enjoyed the music. If you so wish, please feel free to contact me at my email address by clicking the link below.
Also, welcome to my guestbook.

Email David Thornett

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    This page last updated on Thursday 12th August 2010 at 11 PM

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