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Between Blues and Hard Places

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Douglas Lowry

Douglas Lowry

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General Info

Year: 2007
Duration: c. 8:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Between Blues and Hard Places begins with a blues piano that conjured images of a 19-year-old Lowry playing at the university’s Bengal Lair space. After the initial piano, other instruments compete for attention until the piece stops rather than ends with the blues piano. The dramatic tension is maintained. It’s an exploration of “different musics,” as Lowry explained, or what happens when popular and classical music compete.

- Program Note from Idaho State Journal

Douglas Lowry (b. 1951), professor of music at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, composed Between Blues and Hard Places. He was inspired to write the piece by a PBS special hosted by Eric Clapton that featured performances by some of the world's

great guitarists including B. B. King and John Mayer. The composer stated that it was a lesson in history.

... many of us grew up in an era rich in rock 'n roll [and were] deeply influenced by these artists. Some of us went on to music schools or to get immersion training in Palestrina and Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, Debussy and Mahler, Schoenberg and Webern, along with scores of other born of Occident. As composers ... we try to reconcile these many "musics" because the musical landscape that ... inhabits us is so complex. The tension is inescapable, and the various ways this tension gets resolved is fundamental to the compositional problem of the twenty- first century. So I guess Between Blues and Hard Places is really a short simple essay on this dilemma.

[The piece] probably isn't blues at all. It begins with a soft, lyrical, almost melancholic piano solo. This sets up a smoky sultry scene influenced by the blues whose themes accelerate and compress and finally give birth to "hard places," a zone laced with cross rhythms, nine-eights against four-fours, four-against-threes, all colliding against struggling jazzy figures. A reprise of the melancholy piano finally allows one last set of blues and-hard-places to drift off, its paradox happily unresolved.

- Program Note from The NEW Winds of Change


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer