Polkacism, a clarinet and accordion duo was completed Jan. 12, 1997 for the late clarinetist Robert Fitzer. The piece was first performed Feb 19, 1997 at the Winter Pops Concert edition of the Youngstown State University New Music Concert Series. Performers were Rober Fitzer (clarinet) and Joseph Natoli (free bass accordion). The following performance notes accompanied the performance that evening:
"Classical accordion performance is not as well-respected in the United States as it is in Canadian, European, or even Asian musical cultures. That is because in America, there are certain perceptions and misconceptions about the kinds of music the accordion is capable of producing. When one mentions the accordion, especially in the context of an ensemble that includes the clarinet, there are immediate images of "oom pah pah" rhythms, beer halls, Oktober Fest, and Polkas ad infinitum. It is from that paradigm that the title of this composition emerged. Polkacism contains the suffix "cism" which comes from a Latin term meaning "to cut" . My intent with this piece therefore is to surgically remove any pre-conceptions that most people in this country seem to have when they hear these two instruments together. Yet I have still tried to maintain indigenous elements of the traditional Polka (for example, its positive and happy rhythms) but from a contemporary perspective."
You can also click here for a YouTube performance of the piece.