For people who can’t stand the heroic mold of the traditional concerto, the accordion is an ideal medium. Contrary to its reputation, the instrument projects only a modest volume of sound, and cannot compete directly with an orchestra without being buried alive. Even if it tried to be heroic, nobody would believe it. It is an outsider, a newcomer to the concert stage, whose sound still calls to mind beer halls, village dances, poverty cheerful or grinding—all in contrast to the orchestra, whose ancestry is aristocratic.

Flourish wears the clothes of a traditional concerto: it is in three movements (more or less, slow/fast-slow-fast), played without breaks, with a cadenza at the end of the first movement. But its body is something else. It shows the accordion as a chameleon of musical tones and colours, by turns tender and ironic, friendly and aloof, expressive and mechanical. It offers sly comments and asides, makes daring entries and narrow escapes. It rings the orchestra’s doorbell and then runs away.

Flourish was commissioned by CBC Radio’s “Two New Hours” (David Jaeger, Executive Producer) for accordionist Joseph Petric and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.