Richard Lambert Music

Abigail's Jig for clarinet, bassoon and piano (Op.10 No.2h)

A lively piece for clarinet, bassoon and piano, combining the atmosphere of an Irish jig and cowboy music!

This lively trio was commissioned by the Ellis Ensemble in September 2014, but the original Abigail's Jig (Op.10 No.2a) (1980) was for flute and piano, and was written especially for the composer's daughter. There have been numerous arrangements since, for a wide variety of instruments.

The piece attempts to capture the atmosphere of an Irish jig, using very straightforward harmony, and folk-like modal melodies. The introduction is intended to be humorous and rather musically misleading. It starts in F minor, but is immediately contradicted by remote chords to that key, and rhythmically parodying the 'cowboy' music of Aaron Copland. Modal harmony also helps to create the mood of pseudo-folk music.

The main theme starts in the unexpected key of D minor and for 20 bars the three players take turns to present the melody, 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, and based largely on arpeggios and scales. After 14 bars, 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 clarinet plays decorative triplets against a strong statement in the bassoon and piano of the main theme in augmentation. After a final reference to the introductory material, the piece finishes with an upward cadential flourish.


Published by Forton Music (December 2016) in Cameos for clarinet, bassoon and piano (FM621), with Cantilena: für Ellis (Op.11f) and Five Short Pieces (Op.9c)


  1. 20 January 2015 at Chichester Cathedral, lunchtime concert.  Ellis Ensemble (Kimon Parry, clarinet; Susanne Simma, bassoon; Belinda Jones, piano)
  2. 30 April 2015 at St John's Church, Harrow, London; lunchtime concert.  Ellis Ensemble
  3. 25 July 2015: 11am Riverside Arts Festival, Sunbury-on-Thames, London. Ellis Ensemble


This recording of Abigail's Jig was produced using Sibelius computer software: it is not a live recording.


You can purchase Abigail's Jig in Cameos for clarinet, bassoon and piano (FM621) from Forton Music.

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