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Blues Box was composed for Marcel Worms and his “Blues Project”. Worms
is looking for pieces which express or touch on the spirit of the blues, not exact
imitations. This work is a nocturne, and one which achieves its character through a
struggle of sorts. It is almost completely serial, an approach I almost never use. But
in this case, the conflict between the strict dictates of row and extemporaneous spirit
of the blues was a spur to my own creativity. In keeping with an image from a lot of
classic blues, I see the underlying matrix as something like the grid of prison bars
against which the music rails. In addition, the piece obeys two other musical
mandates: 1) the chord voicings and general registration of its lines mimic overtone
relations as closely as possible, and 2) the piece---a set of twelve variants on a
theme/row presented in the first phrase---follows the harmonic macro-structure of
twelve-bar blues, the relevant rows centered on the first, fourth, and fifth degrees in
that structure.

And when all that technical explanation is said and done, I hope the music moans. ----Robert Carl

Note on alternative presentations:
Blues Box may be paired with my Warm Waxing Wail for singer/pianist,
preferably as a prelude. In addition, if my Swing Shift is added as a third
movement, the three works constitute a “Blues Sonatina.”

Ensemble Type: 

solo keyboard
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