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July 11, 2012

Midweek Madness: Sliding with Yvette

Honest, I have nothing against the accordion. And I think it's great that the American Accordionists' Association is holding its annual festival and competition this week right here in dear old Baltimore.

I am, however, one of those unfortunate souls ever so old enough to recall the days when the instrument wasn't taken too seriously, thanks largely to some pretty tacky accordionists, so it took me a while to view the accordion in a better light.

I love the fact that the accordion is now getting more respect and more exposure, in a wide variety of musical genres and performed by serious musicians of all ages. Turns out it's really cool after all.

That said, I couldn't resist sharing a ...

less substantive moment in accordion history for this installment of my global cyber-sensation, Midweek Madness. Here's the lovely, unflappable Yvette effortlessly gliding through "Sliding" ("En glissant"), captured for posterity on a scopitone, a 1960s jukebox-with-video:


Posted by Tim Smith at 6:06 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Clef Notes, Midweek Madness


When I was 12 or so I "won" a free accordion lesson. One was enough.

On the other hand, we loved the episode of Mad Men where Joan showed off her accordion playing skills for a dinner party.

Darn! I had forgotten that episode with Joan. I would have enjoyed getting a mention of that into that my story. And, hey, maybe you would find a second lesson more palatable now. TIM

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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.
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