A woman accordionist
We have just arrived at the year 1836, when the first original work for accordion was composed, (and the first preserved one): the ‘Thème varié très brillant’ by Louise Reisner. Yes, you’ve deduced correctly, she was A. Reisner’s daughter, and in fact played the accordions he made. A family business. What’s more, she composed it herself and premiered it at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris.
“She combined concerts with teaching at home, teaching her father’s method. It was even on her cover. Thus, she helped spread her father’s teachings and nourished his success. “
Louise’s style was romantic virtuosity, very fashionable in the Paris of her time. Well-known music magazines such as ‘Le Menestrel’ and ‘La France Musicale’ reported his successes in concert halls.
She combined the concerts with being a home-teacher, teaching her father’s method. She was even on his front page (you can see it in black and white). Thus, he helped spread her father’s teachings and fueled his success. So much so, that he was considered ‘the first accordion teacher’.
Professional or amateur?
Reading the little bibliography about her (scandalous that there is no page in Wikipedia), I was very confused by the fact that she was defined as ‘amateur accordionist’ in some places, ‘virtuosa’ in others and ‘the first accordion virtuosa’ in others…
My personal conclusion is that at that time the instrument was still to be defined, it was a bit like the accordion’s Neolithic. So it’s fair that those who were building it were reinventing it and improving it, and at the same time writing down how it could be played.
Reisner Senior entitled his work ‘Méthode Reisner pour apprendre sans Maitre à jouer l’Accordéon’. That is, to learn without a master. He intended that in an amateur and autonomous way anyone could learn to play it.
It fits in.
The instrument of the people.
What it sounds like
Hey, the composition sounds great. The best video I’ve found for you to listen to is this. There are also images of the score and the look of the first diatonic accordions in history.