Piping the Earth

“The evening’s high point came midway through the second half, with the premiere of Judith Shatin’s exuberant and captivating ‘Piping the Earth.’ Vividly orchestrated and bursting with imaginative detail, the piece grabs a listener’s attention right from the opening moement, an ominous stillness in which a low wind can be heard creeping through the bassoons, cellos and bassdrum.

Shatin’s writing is rhythmically urgent (percussive outbursts punctuating the score are among the many echoes of early Stravinsky, especially ‘The Rite of Spring’) and pursues a course both logical and surprising. Evocations of the wind, for example, recur periodically, associated with a fundamental pitch, and there are other clear structural points. At the same time, there are wonderful bursts of inspiration, such as a silvery dominant-seventh chord that courses up and down like a crystal fountain through the woodwinds and strings. At nine minutes, the score is exactly proportioned, but still left a listener eager for more.” – San Francisco Chronicle

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“…It hardly prepared one for the musical firestorm of ‘Piping the Earth,’ a new, one-movement work by Judith Shatin. Apparently conceived as an investigation of the way sound changes in space, the finished work does propose an active and ever-changing soundscape over a constant (if hardly static) harmonic base. It also enthralls. There’s no sense of detached, solipsistic, intellectual enterprise in this work, which dazzles with its array of active sound surfaces and shapes. Falletta’s sure grasp of the work allowed it to take its multi-directionaly course with confidence about its outcome. The performance was breathtaking.’ – San Francisco Herald