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Three Shades of Blue was naively conceived as a work for Cello with Violin accompaniment. However, the Violin, accustomed to star billing wasn’t having any of it.
The Cello begins the first theme, but a few bars later the Violin steals it, extends it, and tries to keep it. This results in a skirmish, with neither instrument giving way – a scrappy, unyielding and relentless bombilation of blue murder. The movement ends, not in an agreement, but in a truce.
The second movement is a peace discussion, more subdued, but alive with tension. Each instrument tries to out-filibuster the other with empirical viewpoints ‘till they’re blue in the face.
Finally, deciding they can get on with each other in a hopeful blue skies type of atmosphere, they embark on a reconciliatory third and final movement and boogie their way to the finish.
Commissioned by the Moore Mullen Duo in 1996
II. Largo Cantabile
III. Allegro Vivo
24 Sep 1996: Performed by Jeff Moore (violin) and Brian Mullen (cello) at the British Music Information Centre in London, England.