program notes by composition > B > Blue Shades

Blue Shades

Frank Ticheli

Blue Shades The title alludes to the Blues and a jazz feeling is prevalent, but this is not literally a Blues piece -- there are no 12-bar Blues progressions and hardly any swung eighth-notes.

Yet this piece is heavily influenced by the Blues. According to the composer, "Blue notes" (flatted 3rds, 5ths, and 7ths) are used constantly; Blues harmonies, rhythms and melodic idioms pervade the work; and many "shades of blue" are depicted, from bright blue, to dark, to dirty, to hot blue."

"At times, Blue Shades burlesques some of the cliches from the Big Band era, not as mockery, but as tribute. A slow and quiet middle section recalls the atmosphere of a dark, smoky Blues haunt with fascinating solos by bass clarinet and oboe. An extended, gutsy, clarinet solo ... recalls Benny Goodman's hot style and ushers in a series of wailing brass chords recalling train whistle effects commonly used during that era. High energy and jazzy sounds build to a critical mass, a pressure cooker of excitement. The final stroke on the splash cymbal reminds the listener that this piece is a friendly tribute to an earlier style."

Frank Ticheli (b.1958) is a composer of orchestral, choral, chamber, and concert band works. Born in Monroe, Louisiana, he earned a Bachelor of Music from Southern Methodist University, and Master's and Doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Michigan. He lives in Los Angeles where he is a Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California.

Last updated on May 12, 2017 by Palatine Concert Band