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Tuesday May 23, 2017
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Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues

 

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Although Siegel has said that Chamber Blues represents a "juxtaposition" of classical music and blues — "two forms working together" — rather than a "blend," few of his pieces even approximate the basic sounds of either the blues or his classical models. Instead, he builds large, varied structures out of familiar bits of both languages. Bent blue notes may appear on any instrument; the so-called Alberti bass of the Mozart C-major piano sonata often taught to kids becomes the basis for a blues progression; a big backbeat may be taken pizzicato by the classical instruments. Classical and blues ideas are used to interrupt each other, often with delightful effect, and no two Chamber Blues pieces sound much alike. When Siegel does a straight blues, like "The Woofy Girl Stroll," the tone is often humorous. Indeed, much of the Chamber Blues music is witty, not bluesy, and some of the pieces have titles like "Opus 4 (12 of Opus 8)." On a spectrum between extemporized blues and notated classical music, Chamber Blues is somewhere in the middle: multipart refrains are clearly planned out, but there's a lot of freedom for the individual players.

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