Reviews

1492:

“…interesante uso de los silencios para que todo cree unaconversacion entre los instrumentos perfectamente bien balanceados.” – El Nuevo Dia


Akhmatova Songs:

“Judith Shatin’s powerful Akhmatova Songs are luminous settings of three poems by the iconic Russian poet. While handsomely contrasting in mood, all three songs boast crystalline text settings and an ear for darkly glittering instrumental sonorities.”

“The arresting second song, All Is Plundered, speaks of how the void left by an unnamed catastrophe is filled by an improbable sense of hope. Shatin sets the text with gleaming vocal lines that soar high above a roiling cauldron of strings, woodwinds, and piano. Pamela Dellal was the excellent vocal soloist…Shatin’s work was a standout…” – The Boston Globe


Clave:

Clave sounds like a deconstructed West Side Story, capturing the tropical heat and playfulness of the bomba beat” – The Kansas City Star


Dreamtigers:

“Judith Shatin has a strong musical personality, an assurance made firmer by this CD; it’s a major release.” – New Music Connoisseur

“There is an earthy, even primeval energy in such pieces as Stringing the Bow and The Passion of St. Cecilia that breaks from the shackles of formality. This music has both a savage roar and, as appropriate, a gentle purr…She seems to be at heart a storyteller.”  Fanfare, Full Article 

Dreamtigers is like a conversation with someone smarter than you, on a subject about which you know little — but instead of making you feel dumb, it sparks your curiosity and your intellect.” – Splendidezine

“…these are far from simplistic pieces; even the lilting Gazebo Music, which tries its best to be a lighthearted affair, turns into a crashingly contrarian beast. More excellent work from one of America’s most underrated composers.” – The Orlando Weekly

“Two new CD’s of music by Judith Shatin…offer convincing proof that she is a leading figure among composers in this country….Her mastery of colorful and imaginative instrumentation and subtle compositional technique are evident.” – C-ville Review


Doxa:

“Two works by Judith Shatin, her L’étude du Coeur for Solo Viola (1984) and her Doxa for Viola and Piano (a world premiere; both are dedicated to Glyde) proved musically riveting and brilliantly devised for the instrument.”  – The Strad


Gabriel’s Wing:

Gabriel’s Wing, for flute and piano conveys a well-crafted sense of ecstatic climax… Meditatively this charmer does play.” – Fanfare  

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“Judith Shatin’s Gabriel’s Wing, for flute and piano (1989), likewise conveys in its nine minutes a well-crafted sense of ecstatic climax…Much of this program makes difficult demands, and I hear no tentativity, reach, or strain; a strong sense, rather, of Patricia Spencer’s skillful empathy. If it’s a rapturous mood you’re after. this well produced Neuma provides it in high-quality abundance.” – American Record Guide

“…The works by Shatin are more challenging technically, but are worth the extra effort for their unusual and attractive atmospheres. Gabriel’s Wing won the National Flute Association’s Published Music Competition in 1992. …Judith Shatin (b.1949) is an American composer and flautist familiar with the possibilities of the instrument in both traditional and extended techniques. She is known equally for her dramatic acoustic compositions and for her imaginative use of computer-generated sound.

Gabriel’s Wing (1989) for flute and piano. In a tightly constructed piece, the angelic flute takes flight through the piano’s evocative medium. By clever use of pedalling, chords rich in overtones and other harmonic effects, the piano provides an exciting backdrop for the flute’s soaring phrases which are enhanced by singing with the flute tone.” – PanThe Journal of the British Flute Society

“Judith Shatin is a highly accomplished composer, whose music deserves to be better known than it is. She is also a talented wind player and her familiarity with the flute makes her compositions for this instrument particularly effective. Three of her works appear on this disc. Gabriel’s Wing (1989) is a fairly short piece (9 mins) for flute and piano. It makes use of unusual flute-playing techniques to extend the instrument’s sonorities. Throughout, it is never anything less than lyrical.” – Stonegnome 

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Gazebo Music:

Gazebo Music, Judith Shatin’s flute and cello piece composed for an open-air performance, effectively evokes a nature scene without resorting to blatant pastoral imitation.” – The Washington Post


Hearing The Call:

“….With the distinguished exception of Hearing the Call, a brief, effective fanfare in the form of double duet for two snare drums and two trumpets by Judith Shatin, this was an all-Beethoven program….”  – The Washington Post 

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“….Judith Shatin’s two-minute Hearing the Call – smartly, crisply scored for two trumpets and two snare drums – is the eponymous work for this collection, and is the perfect ceremonial attention-getter. She follows this work up with Fantasìa sobre el Flamenco for two trumpets, two trombones, and tuba (1998), a clash of bright and dark melodies borne by regimented and free-flowing rhythms….

What performances! The brass players of St. Mary’s Brass are culled from St. Mary’s faculty members and Maryland/New Jersey/New York area musicians, who are all profiled individually in notes in the back of the program booklet. Brass enthusiasts everywhere: This is grand stuff, with sound and invention” – Fanfare 

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Ignoto Numine:

“The other recent piece here is Ignoto Numine, a fine 15-minute work by the intriguing Judith Shatin. The profusion of musical ideas is both engaging and splendidly controlled; and it gets a committed reading.” – San Francisco Chronicle 

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“Judith Shatin is Professor of Music at the University of Virginia. Her quarter-hour, single-movement work explores ‘the mystery of musical ideas’ by creating its own gloss on typically classical devices: a theme is clearly announced; development begins immediately, quickly fragmenting and transmuting it beyond recognition. At times the three instruments sound together as one organ-like mass; elsewhere they play as a trio and have solos. The direction is from simplicity to complexity, clarity to mysticism. Tension builds to a final coda where instruments can no longer contain it, and the players are forced to join in vocally. This is another intriguing piece, in another very personal idiom.” – Fanfare

“[Ignoto Numine]…The direction is from simplicity to complexity, clarity to mysticism . Tension builds to a final coda where instruments can no longer contain it, and the players are forced to join in vocally. This is another intriguing piece, in another very personal idiom.” – Fanfare 

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Ockeghem Variations:

“After the intermission, Ockeghem Variations received yet another excellent performance….The ensemble playing was both rock solid and quite beautiful. The variations – Lustrous, Ringing, Electric, Floating, and Resounding – were full of charm, jazzy exuberance, and moodiness….” – Artsfuse.org 

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“[Shatin’s]  writing is accessible and sustains interest throughout. Her Ockeghem Variations is not really in variation form at all, but includes five self-contained movements titled “Lustrous,” “Ringing,” “Electric,” “Floating,” and “Resounding.” The work is based on the Kyrie from Ockeghem’s Missa prolationum, but I suspect that few purchasers of this disc will have that tune firmly implanted in their minds. This is the most distinctive work on the CD, and is an excellent choice to close the recital, as Shatin’s imaginative music will resonate in my mind for some time. I have no doubt that I will be coming back to it and the other works on this CD repeatedly, not only for the quality of the music, but for the outstanding performances that these pieces receive at the hands of the Hexagon Ensemble. Highly recommended for any lovers of adventurous tonal music.” – Fanfare 

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Study in Black:

Study in Black is a well written composition for flute and percussion and would require two mature and musical players to perform it. It would be appropriate for either a college flute recital or a percussion recital. The publisher is to be commended on the printing of the work.” – Percussive Notes


Secret Ground:

“…Judith Shatin takes an evident delight in the textural possibilities of sound, and her Secret Ground played freely with techniques for flute, clarinet, cello and violin. But Shatin never used effects for their own sake. This was highly inventive music on every level: hugely enjoyable and deeply involving, with a constant sense of surprise.” – The Washington Post


Spring Tides:

“ The ensemble [Da Capo Chamber Players] closed the program with Judith Shatin’s Spring Tides (2009), a rich evocation of the power of nature, with technical effects (creating wind sounds by blowing almost tonelessly into a flute and clarinet) giving way to lush textures that blended instruments with their distant-sounding electronic echoes.” – The New York Times


Spin:

“Judith Shatin’s Spin is a slightly jazzy piece that is light on its feet…” – All Music


Teruah:

“…performer Ronald Schneider played the visually more spectacular impala hord, which only lent to the grandeur of Judith Shatin’s Teurah,  a premiere commissioned by the festival and the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles. Similar to her fascinating chamber work, Elijah’s Chariot, … Shatin wonderfully used the other instruments in Teruah  to extend the essence of the shofar.

…After an opening round of stout tekiah blasts…the brass played a dark, dissonant and gritty chord, infused with flutter tonguing, creating a musical metaphor for how the shofar has inspired worshippers during the High Holidays for centuries. A gorgeous Rosh Hashanah melody that emerged in the horns only drove that further, serving as the emotional response to the sound….Shatin…is a thoughtful and inventive composer who doesn’t write in an academic, rebarbative style. Her music pulls one in with artistic embrace. ” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Tower of Eight Winds:

“…Of Thursday’s two world premieres and Friday’s two D.C. ones, Judith Shatin’s Tower of the Eight Winds, in four movements for violin and piano, stood out for it’s acuity and engaging vivacity as music one would like to hear again…” – The Washington Post


View from Mt. Nebo:

“…View from Mt. Nebo, whose fervor recalls Shostakovich with a carefully wrought tension that raised more than bow hairs.” – The Washington Post


Adonai Ro’i:

“Pieces like Michael Horvit’s “Even When God is Silent” and Judith Shatin’s “Adonai Ro’i” were beautifully shaped and provided a calm relief from the cheery folk styles. The best composition and performance of the night was probably “There Will Be Rest,” Frank Ticheli’s extended setting of two stanzas by Sara Teasdale.” – Timesunion.com

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“Adonai Roi (Psalm 23) for a cappella SATB chorus was composed by Judith Shatin. It was written during the week after November 4, 1995 which marked the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, then Prime Minister of Israel. The text of Psalm 23 is sung in Hebrew with simplicity of texture and harmonic language. While the words of the text attempt to provide comfort to those morning this tragedy, there is an undercurrent of sadness and loss. There are many nice moments of texture and register contrasts in this accessible work.” – Journal of the IAWM Volume 9, No. 2, 2003

Adonai R’oi (1995): A short four-minute statement for mixed voices written in reaction to the 1995 assassina- tion of Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel. Adonai R’oi is the Hebrew text of Psalm 23. This remembrance is pre- sented in simple, homophonic fashion meant to comfort. Written as a lament, the close harmony in parallel move- ment keeps the text in the foreground.” – The Kapralova Society Journal

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Alleluia:

“The composer’s notes on this piece, a three-and-a-half elaboration of the word “Alleluia,” associate it with the September 11 terrorist attacks, saying that her intent is “to express a blend of comfort and defiance, to sing against the dark, but in knowledge of it.” – The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians 

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Although the tempo indication is “Gently,” I find the effect of the piece to be more in the direction of “relentless,” or at least, “inexorable,” but I don’t mean that pejoratively. The voices, frequently yoked in pairs (especially SA/TB), move in and out of various ostinato patterns, the rhythmic texture well-leavened with triplets. If performing forces are a worry, it may help to know that the soprano solo lasts only five  bars. This is not musical comfort-food, but it does have something powerful to say that is not necessarily out of place amid the C major of Eastertide, particularly in war-time” – The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

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COAL:

“The chorus and conductor were impressive, with especially sweet tones achieved by the sopranos. My guess is that this is a work they will live with a long time, and as they get to know the more complex choral parts better, they will be able to be more aggressive in places that call for crisp rhythmic emphasis and unhesitating forward motion, such as in the dramatic climax or in such parts as “What Coal Makes.” – Anna Larson, Full Article 


Carreno:

“In Judith Shatin’s monodrama Carreno (not to be confused with Pamela Ross’s one-woman show of the same name running Off Broadway), Ms. Innerarity took the stage by storm. Teresa Carreno (1853-1917), a famous Venezuelan pianist, singer, conductor and composer, was something of a dynamo herself, and Ms. Innerarity, an accomplished actress and soprano and a passable pianist (reasonably convincing even in snippets of virtuoso concertos on a battered out-of-tune spinet), gave a gripping portrayal of the solitary older woman, reliving her public conquests and personal failures and misfortunes.” – The New York Times


I Am Rose:

Luminous seems the best word to describe this piece. I Am Rose shimmers and lingers, using harmonic clusters and repeating rhythmic figures to create what the composer refers to as ” a kind of mantra.” While this is not to neglect the sections of the work indicated as “whimsical,” “playful,” or “joyous,” the smooth and dreamy sections arethe true hallmarks of this work, winning one over with their feeling of timelessness.” – The Choral Journal


The Jabberwocky:

The Jabberwocky, by Judith Shatin, English text, ECS, 6977, TTBB a cappella. This fanciful, creative work is brilliantly conceived and constructed to the famous poem by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). The piece opens with appropriate nonsense syllables on fast rhythms that must be sung with extreme accuracy. Humor is extremely important as you work to create an effective performance. Changing meters dominate and help with the proper text versification. The text painting is driven by well-conceived rhythms, melodies, and harmonies. Collectively they build a unified conception of tremendous poetic and musical expression. The harmonies are brilliant but approachable. A perfect choice for the ending of a concert, this is a great addition to the men’s choral repertory. Difficulty rating 4.” –  Choral Newsletter

“In pieces by Stravinski, Ross Whitney, Vytautas Miskinis, Stephen Smith, Morten Lauridsen and Judith Shatin, Huszti drew out inner voices by emphasizing excellent diction, and his reading of the mass, which started slowly, hit its stride in the changing moods of the credo. Dunaway, working with more transparent textures in the women’s set, molded splendid unisons and enlisted a fine group of soloists from the ensemble.” – The Washington Post


Arche:

Arche, featuring a warmly handsome solo performance by violist Rosemary Glyde, made extensive use of themes with a wave-form profile and also employed a tonally oriented 12-note serialism as its harmonic premise. A good deal of thematic evolution was suggested in this broodingly lyrical, sometimes darkly dramatic work…” – The Houston Post


Aura [Orchestra]:

“The work has a distinct post-romantic quality while maintaining a tonally-flexible freedom; the use of orchestral timbres is always effective and evocative of the  somewhat mystical “Aura” surrounding blocks, or more often, clouds of sound materials. As Ms. Allen has said about this work, “Just as every verbal utterance has its own tone of voice, its affective extension, so does every sound. It is this ineffable extra that “Aura” celebrates.” – All Music Guide


Black Moon:

“…Most impressive was the world première of Judith Shatin‘s Black Moon (2016) for orchestra and conductor-controlled electronics. Unlike the other pieces on the program, which each contribute a musical element to a preexisting narrative, Black Moon tells its own wordless story through a pliable, enigmatic interaction of electronics and acoustic instruments. Although at times the concert dipped into musical laziness and theatrical desperation, Shatin’s work made the experience well worthwhile. During the opening to Black Moon, the electronics executed by Maxwell Tfirn swirled and pulsated in a truly creepy way, giving the impression that the sounds were boring into our skulls, without the usual visual cues as to what was producing them. As musical lines gradually seeped in, the anxiety heightened as it became unclear which sounds were electronic and which were “real.” Digitized droplets and streaks of sound shimmered over and under stilted woodwind arpeggios, jaunty woodblocks, and blaring brass. The interchange between rippling electronics and fluttering orchestra instruments became murkier and murkier as the piece progressed, leading up to a lovely array of extraterrestrial sounds and an enigmatic ending that left me thinking how much I’d love to see the film this piece might accompany.” – I Care If You Listen


Jefferson In His Own Words:

“Shatin’s large-scale, impressionistically colorful orchestration evokes misty Blue Ridge vistas in its quieter and more contemplative moments, but more often enlarges, with some turbulence, on the text’s suggestions of Jefferson’s inner emotional life. The portrait that Shatin paints is far from the usual picture of an enigmatic and cerebral man. This performance by conductor Steven Smith and the Richond Symphony played up the color and drama of Shatin’s score.” – LETTER V, The Virginia Classical Music Blog 

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“Shatin engages complex rhythms and timbre-play to create a fascinating palette of sound for what is essentially an orchestra-narrator duet. Maestro Steven Smith was attuned to this balance, and, just as importantly, to the shape of the music on its own….In the first movement, Political Passion, rhythms crackled like the fire in front of which Jefferson sat to write about his vision of a bill of rights. At one point in the second movement, the woodwinds passed around a pensive melodic line, effectively telling the emotional story behind Jefferson’s constructed argument between Head and Heart, the movement’s title. The third movement Justice Cannot Sleep, contrasted roiling agitation with lyrical bits, while the brass delightfully closed the fourth movement, Freedom of Reason, with a fanfare.” – Richmond Times Dispatch

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Piping The Earth:

“The musical firestorm of Piping the Earth, a new one-movement work by Judith Shatin, dazzles with its array of active sound surfaces an shapes.” – San Francisco Examiner

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“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 bass drum. 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

“On hand for the evening was Judith Shatin, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor and Director of the Virginia Center for Computer Music at the University of Virginia. Her composition “Piping the Earth” is a modernistic, almost atonal piece which lays bare the sounds created by the wind as it moves though different spaces. Difficult to sandwich between Haydn and Brahms, but a stylish work nonetheless.” – Richmond Times Dispatch

“…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

“Two new CD’s of music by Judith Shatin…offer convincing proof that she is a leading figure among composers in this country….Her mastery of colorful and imaginative instrumentation and subtle compositional technique are evident.” – C-ville Review

“The opening work affirms her unique attraction for the flute and winds in general — Shatin is an accomplished flutist—for the timbres drawn from them have a visceral effect on the listener….” – New Music Connoisseur,  Full Article

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Ruah: 

“The music sounded alluring and vital at every step….” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Judith Shatin…shows a rich and disciplined imagination in her … Ruah (‘Air, Wind or Breath’) for flute and orchestra. In Hebrew, as in many other languages, the word for ‘breath’ is also the word for ‘spirit’ (which is the Latin word for ‘breath’), and Ruah is, in fact, a multifaceted essy on the human spirit, its windlike freedom of movement and volatile changes of mood, summarized in the titles of the three movements: SoaringSerene, and Impassioned. It is beautifully performed and recorded…by flutist Renee Siebert, for whom it was composed, with Robert Black conducting the Prism Orchestra.” – The Washington Post

“Judith Shatin’s music for flute and chamber orchestra [Ruah, second movement] has a worn, expressionistic edge–it strikes plaintive chords that dissipate like smoke.” – The Village Voice

“…But it was the performance of flutist Sara Stern, playing Ruah, a flute concerto by Virginia composer Judith Shatin, that held the audience spellbound.

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 From the first movement, Soaring, which portrayed all manner of things in flight from the tiniest creatures to the most majestic angels, through the pensive second movement and on to the work’s final movement, Impassioned, flutist and orchestra breathed as one being. Conductor Cal Stewart Kellogg’s solid musicianship held in one hand complete control of his orchestra, and in the other full understanding of this remarkable opus. The work is all about air. Ruah is a Hebrew word meaning ‘breath.’ With flawless technique, Stern executed wide, leaping intervals, interspersed flutterings, and haunting, silver-threaded melodies. Did the work inspire the perfomer to such heights? Or did the performer bring physicality to mystic beauty? The answer is: both.” – Mount Vernon Gazette

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Stringing the Bow:

“[Stringing the Bow] is a marvelously inventive piece, informed with a fine sense of musical logic and a precise knowledge of the special qualities of string instruments and what makes them sound good in ensemble.  The music showed a composer fully in control of her material at all points and attuned to what makes an audience come back for more.” – The Washington Post, Full Article


Time to Burn:

“The works of the composer Judith Shatin always radiate such confidence, as it does in her new CD” – Ha’retz, Full Article

“Shatin’s music is powerful and most distinctive. As performed here and recorded in Innova’s clear sound, it is also most inviting. I think anyone who is interested in the creation of new music should sample her offerings.” – Fanfare, Full Article

“This disc introduces the listener to the sheer depth and variety of Judith Shatin’s music. The above interview speaks much about interdisciplinary modes of inspiration and the use of either obscure instruments (shofar) or technology (electronics, CADI).” – Fanfare, Full Article

The title track “Time to Burn” is an engaging work for oboe and two percussionists. Extended techniques make the oboe sound almost like an electronic instrument in places. The interplay between the three instruments, and the imaginative way in which they’re used gives the music a sense of energy and even urgency.” – WTJU Classical Comments, Full Article

“Her horizons and spectrums are very rich and impressive, and after you finish listening to the last, a very interesting and dramatic theme of “Elijah Chariot” (with shorter “dumb” vocal arias!), the whole impression irresistibly compels you to press the replay key.”  –  Teripija, Full Article


Civil War:

“Shatin’s Civil War Memories: Inside Out was one of the more compelling works. The audio electronically manipulates a short spoken text telling of the looted bodies of Civil War casualties and eerily morphs Matthew Brady photos of Civil War dead into American dead in Iraq” – Miami Herald


Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing: After Hokusai:

“Shatin creates gossamer, translucent textures that envelope the clarinet without obscuring the almost Messiaen long lines”   The Society of Electro-Acoustic Music, Full Article 

“…a new virtual landscape, completely natural  and alive with a quiet serenity…” – The Clarinet, Full Article

“The quietude and spaciousness of Judith Shatin’s Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing are wonderful things. Cherry Blossom has rich and sumptuous electronics that envelope the clarinet in a blissful and dreamy sonic fabric.” – Sequenza 21 


Elijah’s Chariot:

“A splendid Elijah’s Chariot.” – Il Gazzettino

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“….More interesting was Elijah’s Chariot by Judith Shatin, which used the taped sound of the shofar (the rams’ horn used by Jews during a High Holidays service) to generate a dense and affecting musical dialogue. Using the shofar’s proud, vaulting dissonance as material, Shatin draws the quartet into ever tighter thickets of sound, which climax and then dissipate as Elijah is transported to heaven….” – The San Francisco Chronicle

“The Shatin work…is a single long movement based on the sound of a shofar, a ram’s horn blown in the Jewish liturgy. That ancient sound is ingeniously manipulated electronically and serves as the point of departure for exploratory sonorities in the string quartet. In addition, the traditional Hebrew melody “Eliahu HaNvai” is introduced, developed and repeated in simple and elaborate variations at the end, played and hummed by the Cassatt Quartet. The work is inspired by the story of the biblical prophet Elijah and reflects his religious intensity. Shatin reveals her mastery of the union of the electronic medium and live performance in projecting a visionary experience.” – Charlottesville Weekly

“The instrumental pinnacle was Judith Shatin’s Elijah’s Chariot, a symphonic poem for string quartet, with the four instruments representing the wheels of the prophet’s fiery conveyance to Heaven.” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Grito Del Corazon:

Judith Shatin’s Grito del Corazón combined washes of harmony in tape and saxophone …with a video whose shifting shapes moved with convincing (and often disturbing) physicality. The music and video grew together over the course of the work – the sax into melodies, and the video into human and animal forms dimly emerging. Both music and video evoked the terror and intensity of Goya’s Black Paintings compellingly. – Journal SEAMUS


Sea of Reeds:

“…Shatin’s Sea of Reeds was one of the most engaging works heard during the festival. The electronics were deftly managed…” –  Classical Voice, Full Article


Singing The Blue Ridge:

“Taped sounds of animals, birds and insects are integrated with the orchestra in a successful symbiosis. The vocal parts, one movement each for the two singers and two movements for both together, were highly expressive and beautifully sung. Colorful, atmospheric and intense, the performance relied on the intrinsic musicality of its ingredients, including traditional tonality and masterful orchestration.” – C’ville Weekly


Kairos:

“The relationship of the flute and its player’s singing voice to the electronic medium is unique to this work. Several extended techniques are used by the live performer, but even more exotic transformations are achieved by the manipulation of all the sound material by a computer via MIDI and by a voice processor, Quadraverb. This sets the music off on a Ulysses-like journey containing all the challenges and dream-sequences a true adventure should have.”  – Pan (The Journal of the British Flute Society) 

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“Kairos, for flute, computer and effects processing (1991), at 15:50 differs from Musgrave’s Narcissus by eight seconds. I would love to draw further parallels but cannot. Shatin’s electronic effects conspire by and large in the creation of a preternatural space for the flute’s sentimental journey. We again at moments hear Spencer’s voice, albeit much processed. (The notes go into good technical detail.)  ‘Kairos’ is a Greek word signifying the most propitious moment for a new undertaking, as in Ulysses setting out on his journey. [This] suggested [to me] a compositional journey on several levels: an adventure into a new medium, a shaping of the musical sojourn, and a particular relationship between the flute and the electronic aether. Much of this program makes difficult demands, and I hear no tentativity, reach, or strain; a strong sense, rather, of Patricia Spencer’s skillful empathy. If it’s a rapturous mood you’re after. this well produced Neuma provides it in high-quality abundance.” – American Record Guide

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Chai Variations on Eliahu HaNavi:

“…Judith Shatin’s music has been well received in the pages of this magazine, including by myself. I have commented on her strong ability to create a narrative pulse in her work, calling her a natural story teller. That quality is much in evidence in this large and compelling composition. Chai Variations takes its main theme from Jewish liturgical music (and its name from the Hebrew word for life). The brooding theme is followed by 18 variations, with such titles as “Yearning” and “Pensive,” reflecting differing aspects of the human condition, before settling back to the original theme.” – Fanfare

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“…The most substantial work featured on the disc is Chai Variations, a 20-movement, 21-minute tour de force for solo piano by Judith Shatin that was inspired by the Jewish folksong “Eliahu HaNavi.” Chai, the 18th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is often used to represent the number 18 as well as life, hence Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and this set of 18 brief variations with a theme at the beginning and a recapitulation of the theme at the very end. Ernst shows a particular affinity for this music, having previously recorded a whole disc of Shatin’s music with violinist Hasse Borup which included the formidable solo piano piece Widdershins….” –  New Music Box

“….a shapely, convincing set.” – CD Reviews

“…Pieces by Brooklyn native Jennifer Higdon, flutist Katherine Hoover, and China’s Jing Jing Luo serve as appetizers to the disc’s centerpiece — University of Virginia professor Judith Shatin’s 20-movement tour-de-force Chai Variations….” – The Palm Beach Post

“…incredibly imaginative creations….” – Terapija (terapija.net) (translated from the Croatian)

“From Fanny Mendelssohn to Judith Shatin (b. 1949) was a chronological leap forward although her Chai Variations on “Eliahu Ha Navi” or 18 variations on the folk song with reference to Elijah alludes directly in the past to the Sabbath. In the program notes Shatin refers to the 18 variations being set in random order by the performer with the proviso that the “Eliahu” folk melody opens and closes the work. Despite its “jagged” modernism, the work oddly enough seemed as much an homage to Beethoven’s 33 Diabelli Variations where rapid intensity and slow self-contemplation interplay to awesome effect. López gave a fine interpretation using the simple and traditional melody as bookends while respecting the interplay of quirky rhythms and sudden lifts, fortissimo chords, double trills (lovely bell-like resonance), adept pedaling, and crescendo phrase endings.” – Coral Gables Gazette

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L’etude du Coeur:

“Two works by Judith Shatin, her LíÈtude du Coeur for Solo Viola (1984) and her Doxa for Viola and Piano (a world premiere; both are dedicated to Glyde) proved musically riveting and brilliantly devised for the instrument.” – The Strad


Aura:

“Just as every verbal utterance has its own tone of voice, its affective extension, so does every sound. It is this ineffable extra that “Aura” celebrates.” – All Music Guide, Full Article


Gabriel’s Wing:

Gabriel’s Wing,” for flute and piano, was written by Judith Shatin. Jensen and Maurer gave a stunning performance of this virtuosic piece that captured the richness of the music with its imaginative use of overtones. . . .” – Deseret News

“…Judith Shatin’s Gabriel’s Wing, for flute and piano (1989), likewise conveys in its nine minutes a well-crafted sense of ecstatic climax. Fasting Heart, for solo flute (1987), its title taken from a Taoist discipline, follows a similarly programmatic path in attempting to express “listen[ing] with the breath.” And meditatively this charmer does play, embellished along the way by simultaneous vocalizing.” – Pan (The Journal of the British Flute Society)

“[Gabriel’s Wing] is an intense, dramatic piece primarily for solo flute” – American Record Guide,  Full Article


Coursing Through The Still Green:

Coursing Through the Still Green,” continued the mood set forth in Hoover’s work. Once again playing unaccompanied, Maurer captured the seamless lyricism of Shatin’s piece with unerring perceptiveness and clarity.” – Deseret News


Fasting Heart:

“Fasting Heart (1987) for solo flute. This piece begins with a haunting use of singing into the flute reminiscent of Crumb’s Voice of the Whale. The contemplative music which follows is interrupted by much more active, even violent, music. Shatin sees a connection between these in creating music. ‘A process in which there is a linking of inward journey and outward manifestation.” – Pan (The Journal of the British Flute Society)


Fantasy on St. Cecilia:

“…Shatin’s ideas are far from time-worn, and she presents them in a unique and riveting manner…” – The Washington Post


To Keep The Dark Away:

“…it is the intricately beautiful new music of Judith Shatin and Gayle Martin’s playing of it that which makes this album so very special” – Rafael Music Notes, Full Article

“One is struck by the intensely personal writing of solace and reflection that can be heard in the opening title movement and more intensely in the central “An Actual Suffering Strengthens.”  Cinemusical, Full Article

“The slowly oscillating, hypnotic left-hand of the first of Shatin’s To Keep the Dark Away (2011) against a highly disjunct right-hand melody could hardly be more contrastive. The five movements, all inspired by Emily Dickinson, are like different elements of a multifaceted jewel.”  Colin Clarke, Full Article

“There is a refreshing trend in new music to create work that is theatrical, even visceral, without resorting to clichés or purely programmatic devices. American composer Judith Shatin falls into this category for me” – Fanfare, Full Article

“A wide-ranging composer,she’s ready to dip into Appalachian or traditional Jewish musical practices (or even Johann Strauss), ready to work with electronics as well as acoustic instruments. And even within these two pieces, her style ranges widely.”  Peter  Rabinowitz, Full Article