The Devil’s Lungs (original Finnish title Pirun keuhkot) is technically one of the most difficult pieces in the accordion repertoire. Written for accordionist Veli Kujala in 2005, Virtaperko’s first accordion piece The Devil’s Lungs was the start of the long-term collaboration between Virtaperko and Kujala, which has so far resulted in four solo pieces, one duo and one double concerto.
The program note by the composer describes The Devil’s Lungs as follows: “The Devil’s Lungs was inspired by the fact that up until very recent times accordion as an instrument used to be considered ”promiscuous” in religious, god-fearing Finland. With its strong connections to secular folk and dance music, accordion presented without any questions a dangerous weapon for the Devil. The instument carried unsuitable and seductive charisma with itself; in fact, certain parishes don’t allow accordion to be played in a church even today.
However, for a secular, preset day composer accordion is just an instrument – a very interesting one with lots of fasinating musical and technical possibilities – but still, it’s just a mecanical apparatus controlled by a man. I was amused (and amazed) by the idea that for someone accordion could have held that much power that it was raised in a position of ”a demonic tool”. Thus, I fantazied a piece, where this ”musical Devil” really speaks out through the bellows of an accordion.
That’s what The Devil’s Lungs is about. It is a shameless virtuoso piece, composed to bring some joy to apathetic and distressing Lutherian world. It is a piece of music that exists purely for entertaining, stimulating and seductive purposes.”
for concert accordion