Compositions and Arrangements for Accordion Orchestra

Latest change, October 6, 2017: Improved measure 76 in Primavera Portena.

I arrange music for different accordion orchestras and make sheet music of arrangements freely available for download (as pdf) as a service to the accordion community. Occasionally I also compose something myself, mostly inspired by some "old masters". Many of my arrangements were initially created for Avanti, a small accordion orchestra in Antwerp (Belgium) I have led for about 30 years and that has (unfortunately) stopped its activities in 2014. Some arrangements are for larger orchestra and were made for Accordeana in Helmond or for the Nederlands Symfonisch Accordeon Orkest. Some of the arrangements for quintet have been made for ARTE, an accordion quintet started in 2013 in the Eindhoven region, or for Kwintissimo, an accordion quintet started in 2016 with players from all over the Netherlands.

When I publish an arrangement here I have to guess whether this is legally allowed or at least tolerated by copyright holders. When the composer died 70 years ago there should no longer be any copyright in most countries. In other countries that is 50 years. When there may still be a copyright holder somewhere it is often hard to impossible for me to find out who that might be in order to ask for permission. So my approach is as follows:

  1. If the composer died long ago I'm pretty sure all arrangements are legal.
  2. If I can find free scores and arrangements on the Internet on what appear to be reputable (legal) sites I assume that publication of a new accordion-orchestra arrangement will be tolerated by the rights holder. I do try to find the rights holder but in most cases this proves (nearly) impossible unless they themselves come forward.
  3. If a rights holder comes forward I am of course willing to discuss under which conditions my accordion-orchesra arrangement can continue to be made available so that orchestras can perform the arrangement which then results in the rights holder earning money through collecting bodies such as Sabam in Belgium and Buma in the Netherlands.
  4. If a rights holder comes forward and tells me that they do not wish to tolerate my arrangement they can send me a request to keep my arrangement to myself and remove it from this site and I will honor that immediately. I have absolutely no intention to violate the rights of any rights holder. On the contrary, by making arrangements available there will be more performances of their music and they will earn money through these performances. Still, some rights holders do not appear to want that money and instead forbid the publication. So be it. Pieces for which I do have an arrangement but am forced to keep it to myself are noted in the list.

If you are going to study and perform one of my arrangements (or download it for any other purpose) please send me an email (to debra at win.tue.nl). When I have your email I can let you know about possible small errors I find in an arrangement and when you find an error please also let me know so I can notify everyone else who uses the arrangement. (An invitation to a concert would be appreciated even more, especially if it's not too far away.)

Most arrangements assume that the orchestra has at least 5 players (4 accordion + 1 basson accordion) and if there is percussion it is written to be played by 1 person. Some arrangements assume at least 6 players and some can be done with just 4.

The compositions and the arrangements that I made from Public Domain music are not only available here but also on IMSLP, the Petrucci Music Library of (mostly old) music that is in the public domain. My arrangements and compositions have a Creative Commons Attribution license meaning you can use them as long as you mention my name. You can adapt my arrangements for a different orchestra too as long as you keep mentioning my name as your source.

I actually have more arrangements, of more recent and very popular pieces (ranging from film music to hard rock) of which I'm pretty sure that publishing them would mean trouble. If what you are looking for is not here it never hurts to ask.

The compositions are ordered alphabetically by composer (and then title for multiple pieces by the same composer).

Recordings of Public Domain music are available directly from this site. Recordings of still copyrighted music are available through YouTube (so YouTube pays the fees to the rights holders). For each recording it is indicated who plays the music.

Il Postino, L. Bacalov

This arrangement has a nice solo part which is best played either on an accordina, harmonica or bandoneon to create a sound that is more distinct from the other parts.
Download: parts, score, recording by ARTE.

Duo-Concerto in D Minor, part 1, J.S. Bach, BWV 1043

This piece is rather difficult, including the basson accordion part. (The live recording was done by Accordeana in a church, with a lot of echo.) There is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Accordeana.

Duo-Concerto in D Minor, part 2, J.S. Bach, BWV 1043

This piece is best played by 6 or 7 players as parts III and IV divided in an upper and lower sub-part. The score has these combined but in the parts file the separate sub-parts are included as well. It is possible to play this with 5 players but it is easier with at least 6. This wonderful composition needs to be played with a lot of passion. There is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti, CD recording by ARTE.

Erbarme Dich, from the Mattheus Passion, J.S. Bach, BWV 244

This is the most famous part of the Mattheus Passion, arranged in 7 parts (2 solo parts, 4 normal parts plus base).
Download: parts, score, live recording by Accordeana.

Gavotte from the Suite for Orchestra, J.S. Bach, BWV 1068

This is a movement from the suite that has the famous "Air". Gavotte is arranged in only 4 voices (3 accordions plus base).
Download: parts, score, recording by Avanti.

Harpsichord Concerto No.5 in F minor, Arioso (Largo), J.S. Bach, BWV 1056

This slow piece is best played by a quintet, one player for each voice. It is very challenging to combine the solo first voice with nice melody with the "plucked" notes in other voices, and the softer but unique continuo voice (fourth voice).
Download: parts, score.

Partita 2 (Sinfonia) BWV 826, J.S. Bach

This piece has an interesting third part which is difficult for all voices. I got the inspiration for this piece after hearing a performance by the Pawel Smirnov orchestra.
Download: parts, score.

Sheep May Safely Graze, BWV 208, J.S. Bach

This is a straightforward arrangement for quintet. I recorded it in 2005 already.
Download: parts, score, recording.

Violin Concerto (BWV 1042 and 1054), J.S. Bach

BWV 1042 is a violin concerto in E and BWV 1054 is a piano concerto in D. I made one concerto out of both (which are almost identical anyway). There is no percussion part.
Download version in D: parts, score live recording, played by accordion orchestra Esmeralda, with violin for the solo. Played in a church with a lot of echo. If you really wish to perform this with a violin solo it is better to this version in E (easier for the violinist): parts, score

Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren (BWV 167), J.S. Bach

This is the choral from BWV 167, made famous by Yo-Yo Ma (see and hear it on YouTube). The arrangement is fairly straightforward except for a few alterations and a completely made--up continuo part. The first, fourth and basson parts are fairly difficult, the second and third voice are easy. Good for a mixed orchestra.
Download: parts, score, recording by ARTE.

Wir Eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten (BWV 78), J.S. Bach

This is the second part of Jesu, der du meine Seele. It has been arranged for 6 parts. Watch on YouTube
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Prière à Notre Dame (Gothic Suite), L. BoŽllman

This is part 3 of the Gothic Suite. It is easy but delicate.
Download: parts, score, recording by Avanti.

Toccata (Gothic Suite), L. BoŽllman

This is the final part of the Gothic Suite. It is quite difficult, especially the end of the first voice. But when played well it is a fantastic showpiece. There is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score, recording by Avanti.

Sugar (De Fabriek), R. Bos

This is the main theme of the TV series "De Fabriek" that was very popular in the eighties in the Netherlands. It is best suited for a large accordion orchestra (first voice requires at least 3 players, second voice at least 2).
Download: parts, score.

Avé Cello, P. De Bra

This is my first "serious" own composition. It is based on Cello Suite nr. 1 by Bach (BWV 1007) and the Avé Maria by Gounod. Gounod wrote the Avé Maria on a different work by Bach. The Cello Suite is normally for unaccompanied cello, and I have once performed it on the basson accordion (after transposing it down a bit). Here it is transformed to a swinging song for 5 players: 3 accordions, one percussion player which can actually also be done on accordion and then the basson.
Download: parts, score, live recording by ARTE (Creative Commons Attribution license).

Karmen Collage, Y. Derbenko

This is originally a solo piece which I arranged for accordion orchestra. It is quite difficult, but really fun to play.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Spleen, R. Galliano

This is an easy piece (except for the solo), for a small accordion group with solo on accordina.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Tango pour Claude, R. Galliano

This tango has been made "interesting" through a somewhat difficult solo part (inspired by different virtuoso performances found online) and a moderately difficult bass part. The solo requires high notes typically only found on button accordions.
There is also a "joke" inside: at some point someone should stand up and play four measures from Libertango and then be reprimanded by the conductor while the orchestra continues playing. (That is part III-solo.)
Download: parts, score.

Holberg Suite (1,2,5), E. Grieg

The whole Holberg Suite is a bit long for a typical varied concert. This arrangement contains 3 from the 5 parts. The arrangement can be played with 5 or 6 musicians. It is easier with 6 but it can be done with 5 with some additional difficulty.
Download: parts, score.

The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, G.F. Handel

This famous part from the Oratorium Solomon by Handel is very well suited for an accordion orchestra, but it can be done with a quintet and the score indicates how to do so. The score and parts also contain lots of hints on how to play the piece (like which notes to make shorter and which longer). The second and third voice have been indicated as a bit louder than the other voices, not because they should sound louder but because they use one reed whereas all other voices play on two reeds. (Accordion players tend to forget to compensate for the number of reeds they play.) As with the original there is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score

Concerto Grosso op. 6 nr. 12 (2), G.F. Handel

This is a very nice slow piece. The variation in the second voice and the whole fourth voice (basso continuo) are entirely made up by me. There is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score

Ole Guapa, A. Malando

This famous tango was revived by Danny Malando's orchestra. The arrangement for accordion orchestra is based on Danny Malando's interpretation. This is moderately difficult.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Accordeana.

Oboe Concerto (2), A. Marcello

This adagio from Alessandro Marcello requires a solo first voice and a solo continuo (fifth) voice. It is well suited for a sextet. A combined second+third voice is included to make it suitable for a quintet. There is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Cent Mille Chansons, E. Marnay & M. Magne

Rogier van Otterloo created an orchestral version of this popular song. The accordion orchestra (or quintet) version is an arrangement of that.
Download: parts, score.

Gabriel's Oboe, E. Morricone

This beautiful piece from the soundtrack of the movie The Mission requires almost no technical skill but requires the utmost in musical talent to make it sound perfect. The arrangement is for quintet. There is a drums part but the arrangement can be played without drums as well.
Download: parts, score, recording by ARTE.

Haffner Serenade, W.A. Mozart

This small piece by Mozart is a "minor" version of a popular song in Belgium and the Netherlands, for "Sinterklaas". It is quite easy and has no percussion part.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Symphony nr 25 (kv183), W.A. Mozart

This is a challenging piece with large jumps and a lot of repetitive notes, with and without bellows shake. There is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Turks Fruit (Turkish Delight), Rogier van Otterloo

This is a rare arrangement I made for solo accordion. It is a combination of two songs from the Dutch movie "Turks Fruit", music by the brilliant dutch composer Rogier van Otterloo. This arrangement is an excellent exercise for the left hand (lots of combined chords). It does not require an instrument with very large range, but it does require fairly large bellows.
Download: score, recording by myself.

Parisian Waltz, Yuri Peshkov

This is a fast waltz, French style despite having a Russian composer. Not a common tune but it sticks in your head almost immediately. Only requires accordions with 41 notes. Standard quintet with 4 accordions plus bass accordion.
This is still work in progress: as we rehearse it we will refine dynamics and choice of registers.
Download: score, parts.

Chiquilin de Bachin, Astor Piazzolla

This is a relatively easy piece, but needs to be played freely and dynamically or otherwise it may sound boring.
Download: parts, score.

Milonga del Angel, Astor Piazzolla

The arrangement of this famous tango is best played by a small orchestra that has some button accordion(s) to go low enough and 45 note accordions to go high enough.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Primavera Portena, Astor Piazzolla

The arrangement of this famous tango is best played by a small orchestra that has some button accordion(s) to go low enough, and 45 note accordions to go high enough.
parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Concierto de Aranjuez, J. Rodrigo

This arrangement unfortunately cannot be made available any more.
This composition has apparently been copyright protected by Schott Music GmbH. I had no actual knowledge that my arrangement was infringing on this copyright. I was notified of the infringement on August 14, 2013. If you downloaded this arrangement when it was still available, please ensure that you get permission from Schott Music GmbH before performing it. You unfortunately cannot obtain an arrangement for accordion orchestra from the copyright holder at this time. You can watch a live recording of my arrangement on YouTube played by Avanti and a recording by ARTE as well. If you show me a permission from Schott Music GmbH I will send it to you but I cannot do that without their explicit permission. Sorry about that. I might be able to give you some hints on how to play this piece though.

La Danza, Gioachino Rossini / Ottorino Respighi

La Danza is a famous tarantella by Rossini. Respighi made a version for orchestra as part of "La Boutique Fantastique". The arrangement is for large accordion orchestra. (There are 8 accordion parts, two keyboard/electronium parts, base and drums, including tambourine, triangle, castanets, timpani.)
Download: parts, score.

Danse Macabre, C. Saint-Saëns

This very difficult piece is one of the best known by Saint-Saëns. It requires using either standard or melody basses on occasion. Other arrangements for accordion orchestra exist. This arrangement tries to stay as close to the original as possible. There are two versions: one with 4 parts + basson + drums and one with 5 parts + basson + drums.
Download: quintet parts, full quintet score, sextet parts, full sextet score, live (sextet) recording by Avanti.

Arietta, A. Skulte

This is an arrangement of the piano solo composition by Adolfs Skulte. Download: parts, score.

Waltz (from the Snowstorm Suite), G. Sviridov

This is a fast waltz, moderately difficult. Bits in the parts written between parentheses indicate something played by a different voice and should be skipped.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Accordeana.

Seagate Overture, J. Swearingen

This piece is originally for wind instruments (and percussion). But with clever use of registers an interesting range of sounds can be obtained from accordions as well. This is moderately difficult.
Download: parts, score, live recordingby Avanti.

Valse from Serenade for String Orchestra, Peter Tchaikovsky

This part from the Serenade for String Orchestra is a bit unusual as it has melodies in all voices, including the fourth voice which is normally mostly chords.
parts, score.

Bluesette, J. (Toots) Thielemans

This seemingly easy piece is actually difficult to play right, as a jazz waltz, not a regular waltz. The solo can be played on accordina or harmonica.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Old Friend, J. (Toots) Thielemans

This easy piece has a solo for accordina or harmonica.
I have also created a version for solo plus one accordion.
Download: score for duo, parts, score. The parts also include a 4+base score so that it can be played by a quartet.

Concerto RV 522(1), A. Vivaldi

This piece with some additions made by Bach and some by myself, has been arranged for larger orchestra, with 8 parts (including bass). The parts Ia and Ib are intended to be solo (but that is not mandatory). In all parts the longer rests have been filled in with (small) notes that come from either the Ia or Ib part. The bass also exists without these small notes.
Download: parts, score. There is no percussion part and no percussion should be used.

Largo from Lute Concerto RV 93(2), A. Vivaldi

This easy piece has to be played with a lot of musical feeling.
Download: parts, score

Toccata (Symphony nr. 5, opus 42 nr 1), C. Widor

This famous organ piece is still difficult even when divided over 5 accordions. The basson part is best played on a button basson accordion. The arrangement is based on several organ publications, each containing different errors. So it took some effort to create an arrangement without errors. There is no percussion part.
Download: parts, score, live recording by Avanti.

Schindler's List, J. Williams

This famous film theme is easy but needs to be played with passion. There is no percussion part.
This arrangement I made based on a commercially available version for string ensemble. So it does not satisfy my own rules for publishing my re-arrangement but if you contact me I can point you in the right direction. You can listen to a recording with violin (by Avanti and Eva Dings)and a recording without violin by Avanti alone.