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William Russo --- Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra

tags: music

When I grew up, fairly regular visits to the nearest shop of


were exciting moments. They also issued a booklet (Merkheft) several times a year. It was printed on the thinnest paper I can remember in my live[a], with very small print and an unbelievable amount of items (LPs, books, later CDs and DVDs), not available elsewhere. Some of them had tiny comments attached like this one (my translation of what I remember):

> When the Rolling Stones perform with some symphony orchestra it is still Rock, albeit with backing violins. When the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra performs with the Siegel Schwall Band, something entirely new is born.

This caught my attention and without further ado I bought this album. This turned out to be one of the best recordings I have. Strongly recommended.

Conductor Seiji Ozawa was faszinated by Blues music and had toyed with the idea to combine down to earth Blues Rock with an orchestra. He somehow convinced William Russo to write music for this project. And Russo did.

And no, it is not Blues with violins --- it is something entirely new.

By now I have a few more LPs with recordings by the Siegel Schwall Band. And I can hear that Russo used some of the melodies and riffs as building blocks for his work. Quotes, so to speak. And well chosen imho.

The pieces were performed first in 1968 and eventually recorded in 1972. So I can still enjoy this music. For starters it can be found on youtube, however, I strongly recommend good equipment and vinyl.


wikipedia: William Russo

youtube: WILLIAM RUSSO Three pieces for Blues and Symphony Orchestra

[a] With the possible exception of the South Amercian Handbook

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