Composition -
Blues for Broken Consort
By Matt Walker 2020
A T B plus violin, guitar and string bass
“Blues for Broken Consort” for three recorders, violin, and guitar,
 dedicated to the Nashville Chapter of the American Recorder society
Though Matt is more than comfortable composing for guitar and violin (he is himself a cellist and sometimes-guitarist/bassist), this is his first effort writing for recorders. As inspiration for this ensemble, he imagined what were a few “typical” characteristics: Renaissance music, calliope-like sounds, and simple but beautiful melodies. To those basic notions he applied a blues flavor, a ubiquitous element in his compositions.
Inspired by the common Renaissance compositional device, “Hocket” plays with a blues line broken up into adjoining voices. The tune builds up from nothing and returns to nothing, in the meanwhile accompanied by an ostinato bass line in the guitar. 
“Ballad” is inspired by early "Americana” roots music. A simple reverie in the recorders is interrupted by a mournful violin and guitar moment, before all the voices finish with the original melody. 
“Wocket” (no relation to Dr. Seuss’ pocket-creature of the same name) is a playful romp: The recorders offer a bouncy mixed-meter tune, followed by the violin and guitar playing a bit of swing-blues with the recorders acting as a backing sax section. The two styles alternate awkwardly (hopefully not too much so!) before coming to a happy conclusion. 
Composer and cellist Matt Walker and his wife (violinist Zeneba Bowers) live in Italy, working as artistic consultants and travel writers. Matt's compositions have been performed internationally, including by the Nashville Ballet and by Yo-Yo Ma - with whom Matt played his own cello duo “Yo-Yo Joe.” Before leaving the US, Matt had built a 28-year professional career as an orchestral cellist, chamber music soloist (notably with the Grammy-nominated Alias Chamber Ensemble), recording artist, CD producer, singer-songwriter, and author of four award-winning travel guidebooks.
The Nashville Chapter of the American Recorder  Society premiered Blues for Broken Consort (B4BC) for recorder trio, violin and guitar (live! indoors!) in June of 2021. I commissioned this suite, collaborating with composer Matt Walker by email over many months. Thus the music was truly customized for the ensemble Mon Ami.  Following are some performance suggestions that arose from our rehearsals:
Movement I, Hocket. Tenor recorder can be substituted for alto, giving the lower notes more projection. Opening quarter notes in recorder parts should be played full value. We counted it in 4/4 at c. 120, but gave the music a 2/2 feel.
Movement II, Ballad, Adagio, but played at quarter note = 72, maintaining Matt's "reverie" feel, with long, legato phrases. The syncopated violin/guitar duo in this movement expands the opening theme with gorgeous tone colors. Tenor recorder can play the alto line.
Movement III, Wocket. We rehearsed the 7/8 measures as Balkan folk dance rhythms, quarter/quarter/dotted quarter being the quick/quick/slow of the Râčenica, and the dotted quarter/quarter/quarter being the slow/quick/quick of the Lesnoto. Our favorite section: measures 37-41, Matt's "backing sax section, " which culminates  with an intuitive crescendo to measure 41. Play measure 64 subito piano and intensify to the final measure, with light vibrato on the final note.
We had two players doubling the bass recorder part and added an upright bass, lightly amplified, enlarging the group to seven musicians.
I hope other ensembles have as much fun as we did with this piece. Feel free to copy and perform the music. I ask only that you email me at and Matt Walker at with details of your event.
Here is a link to a video of B4BC, thanks to the skills of Julie Mavity-Hudson:
 From 2021 Spring Finals, click on Mon Ami, then Videos, and Blues for Broken Consort mp4.
Janet Epstein, August, 2021
No. of Recorder Parts:
New Music for Recorder
Date Added:
Social/Casual, Ragtime/Jazz/Blues