White Lies for Lomax - Orchestra Version

$ 40.00

For orchestra (double winds) - Proceed to purchase if you would like to buy a study score.

Conductor's Score and Performance Parts for RENTAL ONLY. Please send an email to info@aphramusic.com to request a rental application form.

Approximate Duration: 7'


It is still a surprise to discover how few classical musicians are familiar with Alan Lomax, the ethnomusicologist who ventured into the American South (and elsewhere) to record the soul of a land. Those scratchy recordings captured everyone from Muddy Waters to a whole slew of anonymous blues musicians.

White Lies for Lomax dreams up wisps of distant blues fragments - more fiction than fact, since they are hardly honest recreations of the blues - and lets them slowly accumulate to an assertive climax. This short but dense homage (which began life as a solo piano work) ends with a Lomax field recording floating in from an off-stage radio, briefly crossing paths with the cloud-like remnants of the work's opening. The seemingly recent phenomenon of sampling - grabbing a sound-bite from a song and incorporating it into something new - is in fact a high-tech version of the very old practice of allusion or parody, and the inclusion of a field recording of early blues musicians at the end is a nod to that tradition.


2 flutes (2. doubling piccolo)
2 oboes
1 Eb clarinet
1 Bb clarinets
2 bassoons
4 horns in F
3 trumpets in C
2 tenor trombones
bass trombone
percussion (3 players)
piano / celesta


In the final minute of this work, an optional off-stage boombox can be used to play the included CD (a field recording of early blues musicians). At the indicated moment (measure 103), the conductor simply nods to a percussionist in the wings of the concert hall who begins the CD. No special equipment is necessary, though it is preferable that the playback device be a small portable system offstage rather than house speakers. If it is not possible to secure a boombox, this component of the work can be left out. It makes for a magical final minute, but it is not absolutely necessary.


"Mason Bates’ White Lies for Lomax uses blues in much the same way his elders use jazz: as one of many strands in an eclectic magpie nest of a style. Blues fragments and hints of Fats Waller-like stride piano move through the score, yet the work’s real charm is in its tight structure.” — The New York Times