Composers: Jordan Asher and Beyoncé Knowles
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, vibraphone, electric guitar, double bass, piano
Duration: 4 minutes 30 seconds
World Premiere: May 29, 2015. Wild Rumpus. San Francisco, CA
Live performance by Wild Rumpus, May 29, 2015.
In my arrangement of Beyoncé’s “Blue”, the final track from her eponymous 2013 album, I was inspired first by the beautiful chord progression in the piece, which is reproduced verbatim in this arrangement. The other elements of the song are altered or abstracted in different ways, with the result hopefully being faithful to the original song, as well as the very different abilities and strengths of a contemporary chamber ensemble. The sung melodic line is refracted through a trio of wind instruments (flute, clarinet, and saxophone) who play selected notes from the melody, beginning precisely when they are sung but greatly extending their length, resulting in a slow-moving overlapping counterpoint. The many percussive and noisy synthesized elements in the original production are abstracted and amplified by noisy, percussive sounds performed by the wind players and electric guitar.