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Program Notes

Dichotomy...Impressions of Kerouac

Concord Band commission (1997)

Daniel P. Lutz, composer

To recognize the 50th anniversary of the writing of "On The Road" by Lowell author Jack Kerouac, as well as the 75th anniversary of the author’s birth, the Concord Band commissioned a new work for concert band. The commission was also funded in part by a grant from the Lowell Cultural Council. The piece was premiered November 1st, 1997, at 51 Walden in Concord, Massachusetts. The composer has written the following about the origins of the work:

Dichotomy...Impressions of Kerouac is a work for winds and percussion inspired by impressions of American writer and poet, Jack Kerouac. The piece is intended to be a non-verbal musical interpretation of a man who inspired a generation. The idea of a dichotomy, or the two sides of the man, was spurred by the apparent coexistence of the radical and the traditional in Kerouac’s writings and life. From the extraordinarily structured environment and mores of immigrant French-Canadian Catholic beginnings, to the almost surreal rebellious wanderings and amoral experimentation of the "beat generation."

Incorporated in this musical interpretation are elements of chance music or free improvisation within a highly structured musical form; the use of traditional/highly consonant folk melodies juxtaposed amongst dissonant experimental musical ideas ... all revealing contrasting moods and emotions much like the composer’s overriding impression of the man who once described himself as a "strange, solitary, crazy Catholic Mystic," Jack Kerouac.

Dichotomy...Impressions of Kerouac, composed by Daniel P. Lutz, was commissioned by the Concord Band with the support of the Lowell Cultural Council. The premier performance was presented by the Concord Band in March of 1997. The band is performing this work in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel On the Road. Dichotomy captures the conflicting influences in Kerouac’s life, including musical references to his strict Catholic upbringing, his traditional French heritage, and his life as one of the founders of the beat generation. Composer Daniel P. Lutz teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.



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