Performed by The Chelsea Symphony
Michael Blancaflor, drum set
Nell Flanders, conductor
The Dimenna Center for Classical Music, New York, NY
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2 + picc. 3. 2 + bcl. 2 + contra / 22.214.171.124 / timp. 3 perc. + drum set / hp. organ / strings
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 at length 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, a number of 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, and ultimately the goal has been to lightly clothe my personal musical language with stylistic elements of the group in such a way that both ring through loud and clear.