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Moon Jig (2005)

For violin, cello and piano

Premiered by The Lincoln Trio, Chicago, IL, 5 May 2005
Duration: 5 minutes


CD Available
Sun Threads, music by Augusta Read Thomas

This work is available on
Sun Threads, music by Augusta Read Thomas

Notable Women: Trios By Today's Female Composers

This work is available on
Notable Women: Trios By Today's Female Composers

Program 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 Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago at a private party and is most often performed with its companion trio ...a circle around the sun...

— Augusta Read Thomas

Selected Reviews

Catherine Nelson, The Strad, CD Reviews "Moon Jig bristles with energy in its jazz-inflected rhythms."


Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition "Chicago based composer Augusta Read Thomas wrote Moon Jig expressly for the Lincoln Trio. Thomas describes the piece as "somewhat of a cross between jazz... classical." In this short, spiky and attention-getting work, the piano acts as sort of a springboard for melodic and harmonic input from which the violin and cello react, almost in an improvisatory manner. This is a very solid work that makes a great addition to the genre."

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