« Your last-minute weekend musical suggestions | Main | Weekend round-up: Concert Artists, Baltimore Concert Opera, Columbia Pro Cantare »

March 27, 2011

And now for something completely different: Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto on accordion

Just when you thought you'd seen everything.

Thanks to buddies in Florida for alerting me to this young Ukrainian (I originally thought Russian) accordionist, whose repertoire apparently knows no bounds. Here's the finale of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto as you've never heard it before.

For comparison purposes, I've followed the kid's amazing playing with a performance by a pretty good Russian fiddler who probably never guessed the full extent of the concerto's possibilities:

Posted by Tim Smith at 12:07 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Clef Notes


I would LOVE to know where this kid is now. Such amazing talent. Have you heard his Vivaldi? It's just unreal. That was some "recital."

Found him!!

I like his Bach Passacaglia even better:

symphonyguys' second link reveals that the accordianist is Ukrainian, not Russian. Having just read Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands, I believe that Ukrainians would consider that a serious mistake.

That alphabet is all Greek to me. But thanks for the clarification. TIM

This is a stunning feat. The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto’s Third Movement was deemed impossible to play when it premiered. Tchaikovsky wrote it for his lover Iosif Kotek and they broke up over Kotek’s refusal to tackle it. Next came Leopold Auer and Adolph Brodsky, who in the words of the nasty anti-Semite critic Edward Hanslick, “beat the violin black and blue” playing this “stinking music.” Bohemian violin virtuoso Karel Halíř finally figured out how to tame this unwieldy beast. The rest is history. For pianists, there is the notorious and feared Rachmaninoff Third. For sopranos there are Norma, Turandot and Isolde. For tenors there is Otello and for the baritones Hans Sachs and Rigoletto. For the violinists this is it, the Mount Everest of all concertos. Imagine what it means to play this monster on an accordion. Young Alexander Hrutevich takes up the challenge and comes out unscathed. Bravo!

Amen. Thanks for writing. TIM

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop
Famous faces in classical music
Sign up for FREE entertainment alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Most Recent Comments
Stay connected