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Blue, black and white : concerto for jazz quartet and orchestra

by Nadia Burgess (2011)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Loretta Palmeiro, Andrew Scott, David Groves, Steven Hillinger, Jamie Castrisos, Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra from the CD Compositions 2011/2012

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Compositions 2011/2012


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Compositions 2011/2012 / Nadia Burgess.

Library shelf no. CD 2468 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

The first movement, Blue, is a D minor blues. The time signature is 3+3+2/8, which changes into a jazz waltz in 6/8. Inspiration has come from No. 153 (Dance in Bulgarian Rhythm No. 6) from Mikrokosmos Vol. 6 for piano by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (1881-1945). When Blue was first recorded it was quite evident that the two ensembles enjoyed the opportunity to "cross-over" into one another's worlds, something they do not do on a daily basis.

Emotions such as sadness, despair, loneliness and a sense of loss are portrayed in Black, a C minor ballad in slow 4/4 time depicting a black or dark state of mind. Melodic and atmospheric inspiration has come from the film soundtrack themes reflecting the same pathos: Theme from the Bodyguard by Alan Silvestri (1992) scored for trumpet, strings and piano, and Vesper's Theme from Casino Royale by David Arnold (2006) scored for piano and strings.

White displays the joyous celebration of a white wedding in Africa. Indigenous South African music which combines traditional music and popular styles has influenced the compositional language here. A raw, authentic and colourful African sound with call and response passages, marimba ostinato patterns, poly-rhythms and rapidly changing meter is aimed for. The sounds of African instruments such as ankle rattles, bells, drums, maracas, mbira, musical bow, reed flute, xylophone, and the saxophone and penny whistle as played in township jazz, are re-created.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in Bb (2nd doubling bass clarinet in Bb), 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in Bb, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), strings. Jazz quartet: alto saxophone, piano, double bass, drums.

Duration: 17 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: Blue -- Black -- White (A Wedding in Africa).

First performance: by Loretta Palmeiro, Andrew Scott, David Groves, Steven Hillinger, Jamie Castrisos, Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra at Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra Emerging Composer Workshop (Roseville College Auditorium) on 3 Apr 2012


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