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Just Say Yes

orchestra (2012)

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2 + picc. 3. 2 + bcl. 2 + contra / / timp. 3 perc. + drum set / hp. organ / strings


Duration: 13 minutes
Commissioned by: Seattle Symphony
Premiere: October 26, 2012
Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Alan White, drum set

program note

Just Say Yes, featuring longtime Yes drummer Alan White on drum set, was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony as part of its Sonic Evolution project that celebrates the past and future of Seattle’s music scene. It is quite amazing that the band Yes has been going strong for over 40 years and that the group has produced one of the largest discographies of any band in popular music history, with music that speaks to multiple generations of listeners. Such a long history and diverse body of work make creating a piece that reflects the power and popularity of the music of Yes an engaging and incredibly challenging experience! Alan White’s influence was invaluable to the creative process. During this collaboration, we discussed how to best “Yessify” this piece. Through experimentation, a lot of listening and studying, and a few play-by-play tours through songs of different eras, several core musical elements that travel through Yes’ music surfaced in my ear. Alan’s performance in the piece automatically lends a certain “Yes treatment” to the composition. Ultimately, the goal has been to lightly clothe my musical language with stylistic elements of the group so that both ring loud and clear.

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