“Cut a Rug” (2019) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano
This one movement fantasy is dance music. More specifically, it is an homage to 1920’s American dance music. The piece works well as a concert music, but I think a choreographer might find it fun to work with. “Cut a Rug” is energetic, dramatic and abstract, often toying with the motive of an alternating third. But there’s more than that. I found four pop tunes from the 1920’s which feature that alternating third interval and incorporated these tunes into the mix. You might listen for “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?” 1925, “My Buddy” 1922, “Coquette” 1928 and “Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye!” 1922 - all great tunes from the “Great American Songbook.” This brings into play both old fashioned lyricism and a bit of comedy.
This is carefully crafted ensemble music, sometimes serious, sometimes silly, oddly unique: seriously wacky. I think it’s safe to say that it’s quite essentially American.
Smart, Gary, "Cut a Rug (Recording)" (2019). Music Faculty Publications. 48.
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