Matthew Schellhorn


ROGER BRIGGS (b. 1952)
Jitterbug (2015)
solo piano | 5’ | UK Premiere 2017
  • SummaryOpen or Close
    Matthew Schellhorn first performed this work as part of his solo recital entitled 10x10, presented by Markson Pianos and Álvarez Chamber Orchestra.
  • Programme noteOpen or Close
    The Jitterbug was a dance popular in the early 20th-century United States and is often considered part of the 'swing' movement.

    The lyrics of a 1934 recording of Call of the Jitterbug by Cab Calloway establish a strong relationship between the dance and alcohol consumption:

    If you'd like to be a jitter bug,
    First thing you must do is get a jug,
    Put whiskey, wine and gin within,
    And shake it all up and then begin.
    Grab a cup and start to toss,
    You are drinking jitter sauce!
    Don't you worry, you just mug,
    And then you'll be a jitter bug!

    I imagined a pianist who has the ‘jitters’ or ‘newbie jeebies’ and I used an abundance of ever-changing quintuplet rhythms to create the effect of ‘the shakes’. The work is light-hearted and nervy, producing the effect of ‘not quite being in control’ … but in truth, it takes an enormous amount of control to sound on the edge and be a ‘jitterbug’.
  • PerformancesOpen or Close
    28 June 2017
    St Mary Magdalene Church, Munster Square, London NW1
    UK Premiere

    30 January 2018
    St George the Martyr, Borough
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