Classic Blues: My View

Over the centuries, composers have tended to appropriate folk genres into the prevalent ‘learned styles’ of the day. Take for example the Baroque Suite. Bach and his contemporaries took a handful of ‘international’ popular folk dances and stylized them into a multi-movement prototype. The gigue, i.e.‘jig from Ireland; the Courante from France are examples. The 18th Century saw the ‘Minuet’ and the 19th Century the ‘Waltz’. The waltzes of the Strauss family became popular sensations of their day. The more ‘learned’, late romantic, Strauss (Richard) and the impressionist, Ravel, had their more ‘progressive’ versions as well.

An American folk tradition is the blues. From its origins in the Mississippi Delta to the present, the blues, as far as I’m concerned, is central to America’s musical culture. In the sonata cycle of the ‘classical ‘period , the inclusion of the minuet  which originated from a folk dance,became the norm. From a personal standpoint, it seemed  almost natural to include a ‘blues’ movement in my Acacia  for Low Brass Trio. This seems the perfect antidote to the ‘quirky’ first movement and the ‘rollicking’ third movement. My Sweet Acacia Blues is replete with ‘blue notes’ and blues phrasing. These blues lines are imbedded in a rich brass texture with lush harmonies.


My Acacias for Brass Trio will be available to the public in November, 2013.





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