Reviews: Chamber

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.

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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…

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 ”  – 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, Read More.

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


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….” –Washington Post

“….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


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

“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


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

“[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


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 Groundplayed 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.” – 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