CAJUN SET


Movements:
I. Gringalet II. French Blues III. Joe Ferail

Instrumentation:
Guitar, violin, viola, cello

Duration: 11 minutes

Commissioned By:
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Premiere:
1980 by the Center Chamber Group

Available From:
Libby Larsen Publishing

Composer's Notes:
Cajun Set is a three movement work for string trio and classical guitar. Each movement is based on an Acadian folk tune and centered around a dance custom.
 
Gringalet: This tune is a stop-waltz from St. Martinville, 1894. The stop-waltz customarily is a joke piece in which a couple waltzes slowly. The music changes and the male dancer makes up a solo step at random until the waltz begins again. The changes in the music are abrupt and unsettling.
 
French Blues is a slow, sensuous tune, preferably performed a cappella in the parlando style. Each of the instruments in this movement is given a chance to deal with the tune.
 
Joe Ferail (whoop and stomp). The Cajun tradition of whooping is a long standing one. At any given time during a dance or song, anyone may whoop loudly and the rest of the revelers respond with a loud stomp. I've adopted this technique in this movement, asking the performers to whoop and stomp 'raucously.' The tune 'Joe Ferail' is an old French tune, transplanted and interpolated to a jaunty Cajun dance tune.
 
— Libby Larsen, 1980