Vladislav Solotarjow and the Russian way of playing the accordion: a case study (2016)

Elisa van Kesteren
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Abstract Name: Elisa van Kesteren Research supervisor: Stefan Petrovic Title of the Research: The Russian way of playing the accordion: a case study related to the Chambersuite of Vladislav Solotarjow Research question: Does the Russian way of playing the bayan exist and if so, how can I achive this in my own artistic practice? Summary of the results: Russian music is very particular. Through the centuries of this huge country’s history, art has always been of great importance, no matter what the political situation was. The world still honors their cultural heritage, their literature, dance and music. Russian music has always touched and inspired me so it was obvious to specialize during my master in this subject. Becoming myself a performing musician I wanted to investigate what this Russian music is about. What are the characteristics and how do Russian performers play? I wanted to get as close as possible to the ‘Russian way of playing’. Focusing on Vladislav Solotarjow’s ‘Chambersuite’ or ‘Sentimental pieces to Alexander Blok’, made me develop my Russian way of playing. I have done this through listening, analyzing and comparing recordings, from Mika Vayrynen a Scandinavian bayanist and one of Russia’s most important bayanists Friedrich Lips and making my own recordings. This research has proved to me that the Russians play very expressive, with a lot of passion and freedom. Both their music and their instrument are very colorful. I have achieved many of these characteristics in my own playing, even adding my own personal style to it in the end. Only the colorfulness of sound was still missing sometimes. Wondering about my technique and musical decisions, I took the chance to compare the two instruments with each other. My accordion built in Western Europe (Castelfidardo, Italy) versus the Russian-built Bayan (Moscow). It was really helpful to investigate the history of the instrument, the history of Russia and their music in order to get as close as possible to the Russian way of playing. Furthermore, reading about Solotarjow’s life, analysing his composition and listening to different recordings, greatly improved my understanding of this music. These things have helped me to develop my artistic practice. The part of the research that directly involved my artistic practice has been of great value for me. It has enriched my expressive pallet by including more freedom in my playing in many different aspects. I have concluded that it is possible to achieve the Russian way of playing. I have also found that besides having background information about the history of the country, knowledge about the composer and the composition, it is important to have or to imagine the Russian soul. Next to this, it is also important to be open to a different way of playing. A way of playing that might be unfamiliar to a performer. Biography: My name is Elisa van Kesteren and was born in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. I started playing the accordion at the age of eight. After graduating for the Bachelor Degree here at the Royal Conservatory in 2014, I continued studying with An Raskin and will graduate for the Master degree this year. I am a member of the very recently founded accordion ensemble “The Blackboxes”, have a great interest for Russian but also contemporary music and teach at the moment in various music schools.
typeresearch exposition
last modified16/11/2016
published inKC Research Portal
portal issue1. Master Research Projects

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