Speakin’ of the Blues: Larry Hoffman

Barry Dolins interviews Larry Hoffman on his Blues composition, accompanied by a performance of the composition from the New Millenium Orchestra String Quartet.

00:00Copy video clip URL Opening Credits play over video of the New Millenium Orchestra with the song “18 Hammers” by Johnny Lee Moore heard in the background.

01:15Copy video clip URL Barry Dolins, Blues aficionado, introduces the program and Larry Hoffman.

02:47Copy video clip URL Larry Hoffman discusses the architecture of the music the quartet will play. “At the time I was composing this work, I was captivated by a particular prison song, the one we heard, which kept ringing in my mind’s ear,” he says. 

05:39Copy video clip URL Cellist, Eric, plays what the leader would have sung in a prison song. The violins then answer the cellist, as the chain gang. Dominic Johnson, the viola, plays what a hammer would sound like hitting rocks.

06:59Copy video clip URL Entire quartet plays this section of music.

08:18Copy video clip URL Cellist plays the shuffle bass before the entire quartet joins in with a classic Blues composition.

08:49Copy video clip URL Hoffman discusses the bridge section of the composition. He says “it’s all based on recurring motive.”

10:15Copy video clip URL Violist plays the subject, followed by the entire quartet joining in. Hoffman then discusses tone.

12:05Copy video clip URL The quartet plays a section of the composition to show Hoffman’s use of 12 tone.

12:35Copy video clip URL Dolins wraps up the introduction to the piece.

13:13Copy video clip URL The New Millenium Orchestra String Quartet plays the piece in full.

29:54Copy video clip URL Dolins, Hoffman, and the musicians discuss how playing Blues differs from classically composed music. Poor audio quality as musicians aren’t mic-ed. 

35:25Copy video clip URL Hoffman talks about why he decided to compose Blues music and his past experience meeting his Blues idols, increasing his desire to bring Blues music to new audiences. “All of the sudden I got it that it’s not about how I could play the guitar or sing or knew their songs or whatever it’s about [Black] culture,” he says, “this was their music and I treasure their music.”

39:43Copy video clip URL Dolins and Hoffman discuss the future of Blues and the thought that it’s dying. Hoffman remarks that “if you go into the Black areas of any city…you find enough actual, authentic Blues music living.”

47:09Copy video clip URL The interview opens to questions from the audience. Poor audio quality, again, in hearing the audiences’ questions.

58:58Copy video clip URL End Credits.



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