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Augusta Read Thomas

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Moon Jig (2005)
G Schirmer Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Piano Trio
Year Composed
5 Minutes
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Programme Note
Augusta Read Thomas Moon Jig (2005)
Composer’s Note:

Traditionally, a Jig (or Gigue) has been a lively dance with leaping movements, comprised of two sections each repeated. Somewhat of a cross between “Jazz” (Monk, Coltrain, Tatum, Miles, etc.) and “Classical” (Bartok, Brahms, Stravinsky, etc.) Moon Jig can be heard as a series of outgrowths and variations, which are organic and, at every level, concerned with transformations and connections. The piano serves as the protagonist as well as fulcrum point on and around which all musical force-fields rotate, bloom and proliferate.

The piano part starts with (and returns four times with) a low register jig, which is an earthy, punchy, rhythmic, asymmetrical walking bass. The second, contrasting section (which is also repeated 4 times) is always led by the strings who play long animated, expressive lines.

This very short work alternates 5 times total between these two sections:
PIANO JIG – TUTTI – PIANO JIG – TUTTI – PIANO JIG, and so forth, yet as the repetitions proceed, the two musics eventually blend together. One clear-cut example is when the string pizzicatos blend into the low-register, jazzy piano rhythms. A multifaceted merging process finally results in one long sweep of music rushing to the end in the highest registers of the trio, as if the Jig leaped skyward and moonward.

Moon Jig, commissioned by the Music Institute of Chicago, was premiered by The Lincoln Trio on May 5, 2005 at the Chicago Four Seasons Hotel at a private party. It is most often performed with its companion trio, …a circle around the sun…

— Augusta Read Thomas

Sample Pages

  • Ensemble
    Walden Chamber Players
  • Soloist(s)
    Lincoln Trio
...The three musicians in the Lincoln Trio — violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe and pianist Marta Aznavoorian — ...plunged right into the 21st century with their first number — Moon Jig, by Augusta Read Thomas, composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was commissioned this year by the Music Institute of Chicago and performed at the center’s gala in May. The Lincoln Trio also played the piece on a concert celebrating the second birthday of Nichols Hall in June.

This newly minted piece has grown more accessible with each hearing. It is a joyful work, by turns both lyrical and jumpy. The trio has rehearsed it to a fare-thee-well and made it something of a signature piece — an admirable way to coax an audience toward new sonic landscapes.

Dorothy Andries, Pioneer Press (Chicago),01/01/0001
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