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» Cut the Rug
Cut the Rug by DAVID BRUCE
||kamanche, accordion, clarinet, mandolin, 2 vlns, vla, vlc, bass, tabla, 2 percussion|
|World Premiere||Silk Road Ensemble, TBC|
|Commission||Commissioned by The Silk Road Project|
|Reviews||3 Reviews/Press Items|
"An expedition through joy and sorrow"
Like the concept of the Silk Road, Tony Gatlif's film Latcho Drom covers a wide geographical area. Without any commentary, this wonderful documentary
traces the progress of gypsy music from its origins in the deserts of Northern India, via Egypt, Turkey and Romania, and ending
up with the flamenco dancers of Andalucia. The idea of all these diverse but equally vibrant musics being part of
one large family has always appealed to me, as has the ease and naturalness with which new styles have been integrated into a developing musical language as the Roma have moved from one area to another. In my piece I think there is a similarly wide spread of cultural influences, which I hope integrate to create something new - there are a few drops of Kyrgystzan; definite hints of Turkey; a pinch of flamenco; and perhaps even a dash of American Cajun music, and many influences besides.
As always, it was the instruments I was writing for that determined the direction the piece took - a typically Silk Road jamboree of instruments from a wide variety of heritages, including a Syrian clarinettist, an American accordionist, an Iranian kamancheh player, and an Israeli mandolinist. I'm particularly grateful to Kinan Azmeh for a number of invaluable sessions we had together exploring his use of arabic quarter-tones in his clarinet-playing. Unfortunately after a long struggle I just didn't feel comfortable enough with them yet to incorporate them into this piece, but several parts of the piece are written very much with his subtle and haunting sound in mind.
A new aspect in this piece as far as my writing is concerned is the influence of music from Central Asia, in particular, music from Kazakhstan,
Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan. Although I didn't use any melodies or accompanying patterns directly, there is, for me at least, a strong flavour of the region in many parts of the piece, and much of the mandolin writing in the piece is influenced by the sound of the Komuz, the Central Asian fretless stringed instrument. To this end, the title is partly a play on the rugs the region so famously produces (and the subtitle of the first movement, 'Drag the goat' is a reference to the favoured sport of the region - Buzkashi or Kok-boru ("Goat Dragging") in which horseback riders try to score goals using a headless goat carcass - my hope is the movement captures a little of that wild joyful spirit), but 'Cut the Rug' is also an old-fashioned expression said of someone who dances well.
The piece is in four movements:
1. Drag the goat
2. Bury the hatchet
3. Move the earth
4. Wake the dead