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White Lies for Lomax

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Mason Bates

Mason Bates (tr. Marinello)

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General Info

Year: 2008? /
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Aphra Music

Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

It is still a surprise to discover how few classical musicians are familiar with Alan Lomax, the ethnomusicologist who ventured into the American South (and elsewhere) to record the soul of a land. Those scratchy recordings captured everyone from Muddy Waters to a whole slew of anonymous blues musicians.

White Lies for Lomax dreams up wisps of distant blues fragments -- more fiction than fact, since they are hardly honest recreations of the blues -- and lets them slowly accumulate to an assertive climax. This short but dense homage (which began life as a solo piano work) ends with a Lomax field recording floating in from an off-stage radio, briefly crossing paths with the cloud-like remnants of the work's opening. The seemingly recent phenomenon of sampling -- grabbing a sound-bite from a song and incorporating it into something new -- is in fact a high-tech version of the very old practice of allusion or parody, and the inclusion of a field recording of early blues musicians at the end is a nod to that tradition.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

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Works for Winds by this Composer