List of Works » Chamber Works » Gigue

Gigue for flute & harp by DAVID BRUCE

Instrumentation Flute & Harp
Duration5 mins
World PremiereAdam Walker flute, Sally Pryce harp, Presteigne Festival, St Mary's Church, Kinnerton, Wales 25th Aug 2008
CommissionCommissioned by the Presteigne Festival, Wales
ComposedMay/June 2008
ScoreNOT AVAILABLE - this piece is currently withdrawn for revision

Programme Note

My favourite throw-away definition of a good musical form goes something like "lots of good bits, placed one after another in a way which doesn't rubbish". It's actually quite easy to write a 'good bit', much harder to fulfill the second part of the definition. I've lost count of the number of great-sounding 'one minute clips' I've listened to on composers' websites, only to be hugely disappointed when I hear the whole piece and discover that the good bit goes on ad nauseum, or simply that it's the only good bit in the piece!

However, a couple of years ago, I realised that as a composer I was spending far too much effort on making sure the order of things didn't sound 'rubbish', and not nearly enough time on ensuring those things were indeed 'good bits'. So in recent pieces, including Gigue, I have focussed on simpler musical forms - what I think of as 'songs' and 'dances'. In a song or a dance, you usually know once a piece has started, that it is more or less going to stay in the same musical area until the end. You clearly delineate your world, and say, for this period of time (usually not more than about five minutes) these will be my musical boundaries. By limiting the horizon of a piece in this way I have found I am better able to focus on making each moment the richest and most effective it can be. I take a huge pleasure in the tiny details of colour, rhythm and harmony in each bar and feel the craftsman in me working to his full potential. A theatre director friend used to talk about each show having enough 'treats' for the audience, and that these treats had to be carefully paced across the length of the show - that is roughly my outlook on composing music as well, and it is my hope that Gigue not only has sufficient aural treats for the listener across its five-minute span, but also that there a strong sense that each treat is in 'just the right place'!

As its title implies, Gigue is a lively, energetic dance movement, mostly in 6/8. It is based loosely on the final movement of my String Quartet Dances for Oskar and is a re-working and expansion of that piece.

David Bruce, St Albans, June 2008

Recent news items

Most popular posts

All works are available through

© 2023 David Bruce