4. My early accordion years --------------------------------------------------- Previous - Next - Contents
I had my first music lessons on recorder in the late 1940s when I was 10 or 12 years old. I vividly remember my very first lesson. My teacher, Mr. Lindeman sat me down at the table in our dining room at Martinshof and dictated to me "Wanneer wij liedjes zingen ....." ("When we sing songs ...."). I always remember these first few words, but have absolutely no idea what came after them. It was not long before my teacher saw some promise in me and got me an 80 bass piano accordion. I absolutely loved the instrument right from the start.
The accordion was in those early days just after the war the undisputed favourite instrument in Holland, especial in the country provinces. Forget the guitar, that was only for girls and sissies. The accordion was the instrument at all parties, weddings and dances on the farms and in community halls. A whole raft of Dutch songs were written to accommodate the instrument. Like "Daar bij die Molen ...." and "Op de sluizen, van IJmuiden, heb ik haar vaarwel gekust", many such as these two in intoxicating swirling waltz tempos. I played them all !
I played every day on my instruments, but hated written music. I
painstakingly battled through every new piece I had to learn just twice, not
more, then knew it by heart and played it ever after from memory.
A week or so before the scheduled performance he would take me to one of the band rehearsals. There were few cars in those days so we always traveled by bus. We made a rather odd couple stepping out from the foggy darkness into the dim yellow lamp light at the bus stop. A man in a belted trench coat, Stetson hiding his eyes, stick in hand, limping slightly, next to a skinny youth with an alpino cap (dark blue barrette) pulled way over his right ear (imitating the Canadian soldiers) lugging a huge accordion case. A grotesque duo right out of a mystery tale.
My grandmother ("Grotie") came to my very first
performance in the village of Hengelo (Gld). At the Hall entrance door she was asked to raise
her hand. As she did so the attended took it, turned it over and stamped
SPOED ("Express") on the back of it. He apologetically replied to my
grandmother's raised eyebrows, that this was to identified those who had
paid in case they lost their ticket. This often happened, he continued,
when the farmers after too much beer had to go outside for a leak.
I thoroughly enjoyed these performances. I was guest
player in two bands, one in Vorden, the other in Hengelo and performed in
various villages and small towns in the region. I also went to a regional
accordion competition and won both first price with one of the bands and as
a soloist. I played an arrangement of American Patrol which had a few
great left hand bass riffs in it I recall. The mystery girl was also at the
event and put in a very creditable 3rd place performance.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner