Classic Dutch: Marcel Worms and the Global Blues

This entry is part of the series Classic Dutch
New Dutch Blues CD album cover (© RNW)

“Classic Dutch” is a panorama of classical music composed or performed in the Netherlands through the centuries. Most of the music in this series was selected from among the huge wealth of recordings made by Radio Netherlands’ own Music Department. In each program presenter Hélène Michaud speaks with a guest conductor, composer or music performer.

“Globalized Blues” is perhaps the best way to describe what Marcel Worms got up to, starting in 1996 in his “New Blues for Piano” project. More than 150 contemporary composers from over 40 countries on all six continents responded to his invitation to compose blues music for piano. Why would a Dutch musician invite a multicultural pool of talent to compose for such an American idiom? Marcel Worms, a convert to music from biology, believes the three fundamental chords that characterize the blues are a universal formula capable of expressing a broad emotional range– from misery and nostalgia to humor and opitimism. And what we call the Blues actually exists in many cultures by a different name. Worms talks, for example, about how his Chinese colleagues work with “the blues”.

Produced and presented by Hélène Michaud

Broadcast May 1, 2001

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