This lively piece was composed to celebrate the birth of Abby, the composer’s daughter.
Originally composed for flute and piano, the piece has since been idiomatically arranged for numerous instruments in duo or trio format. (There is also a version for concert band.)

The solo part captures the atmosphere of an Irish jig with a harmonically straightforward piano accompaniment, using a mixture of ‘vamping’ and melodic imitation.

The introduction is deliberately harmonically misleading. It starts in F minor, but is immediately contradicted by remote chords, openly parodying the ‘cowboy’ music of Aaron Copland. Modal harmony helps to create the mood of pseudo-folk music.

The main theme starts in the unexpected key of D minor, the instruments taking turns to present the melody, with the piano vamping for the most part.

An angular counter-melody is added when the introductory music returns, leading to the second theme, still in D minor, based largely on arpeggios and scales.  The harmony modulates sequentially and builds up to a key change to E minor, which presents the first theme unexpectedly softly, in keeping with the humour of the piece.

The recap here is contracted before the climax, where the soloist plays decorative triplets against a strong augmented statement of the main theme in the lower piano.

After a final reference to the introductory material, the piece finishes with a lively upward flourish.

abigail's jig


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