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United States Music

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« Reply #135 on: January 29, 2014, 08:01:32 pm »

Music of Judith Shatin Allen

From the collection of Karl Miller

Source: Radio broadcast.
To the best of my knowledge, none of these recordings has been commercially released in digital form.

Passion According to St. Cecelia
Gale Martin, Piano
Charlottesville Symphony University and Community Orchestra
Douglas Hargrave
Note: This is likley the premiere, April 27, 1984

From the Composer's Website:

The Passion of St. Cecilia

Instrumentation:  Solo piano,  2 fl (2nd dbl picc), 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bssn, 2 tpts in C, 2 Hn, 2 trmb, 1 tba, 3 perc, strings

Duration:  21:00

Gayle Martin Henry, pianist and the Charlottesville University and Community Orchestra
Old Cabell Hall, Charlottesville, VA

Program Note
The Passion of St. Cecilia, for piano and orchestra, plumbs depths of experience. Here, Shatin creates sound images that are deeply impassioned, and, at times, truly harrowing. The piece begins with a cry of pain inspired by Cecilia’s impossible predicament. The piece was inspired by the story of St. Cecilia, long the patron saint of music, though her musical reputation is based on either a textual misinterpretation or a deliberate embroidering of legend in the fifteenth century. In either case, it’s a delicious irony, and a provocative one: Does it say that Cecilia should somehow be expunged from the official courthouse records of artistic inspiration? Or does it say that faith — and art — work in more powerful, mysterious ways than mere facts?”

“Shatin kept this in mind as she wrote her piano concerto. But she was also inspired by the fifth-century legend of Cecilia as a Christian martyr. When the opening movement was first rehearsed, the pianist wrote on her score, “the struggle.” For the pianist, like Cecilia, it’s a spectacular and dramatic effort to make her voice heard, to raise it in protest or delight or love, and affirm her religious beliefs.

After this public confrontation, the second movement of the Passion turns inwards. Shatin calls it a “meditation on faith” — you may even hear whispers of a chorale by J.S. Bach. Soon, though, the mood of nocturnal reflection passes over, like the eye of a cyclone, and the inevitable approaches. The final movement tells of St. Cecilia’s desperation, and her martyrdom. The piece ends, as did her life, with three brutal blows. Gayle Martin Henry recorded the piece with the Moravian Philharmonic, Joel Suben conducting, and it is currently available on Parma’s Capstone Collection.
–David Schulman

“…Based on the legend of St. Cecilia, the piece uses the piano and orchestra against each other to depict the conflict between Cecilia and the society that condemned her, as well as together to express her calmer, meditative side. The coloristic effects, language and ideas are fresh and bold. (Shatin) has full grasp of her orchestral flavorings, and her sense of direction is always crystal clear. The work has beautiful sonorities yet an almost primitive character in its dramatic representation of conflict. (Shatin) uses a wall of orchestral sound in the first movement to portray society, from which the piano (as Cecilia) seems to rise. The second movement is mainly clam and lyrical; some of its harmonies are almost impressionist. The third builds to a striking finish as Henry pounds the piano with her forearms, perhaps depicting Cecilia’s behading. The ending is almost too abrupt, but the device is tremendously effective, almost making the listeners jump to their feet. ”
–The Denver Post

Arche for Viola and Orchestra
Rosemary Glyde, Viola
Houston Symphony Orchestra/C. William Harwood

Note: the composer's website had little information about this work except for the following.  It is of interest that the soloist is the one who commissioned ths work.

Instrumentation Viola Concerto

Duration 17:00

Rosemary Glyde

Roundabout Theatre, Manticore Orchestra
Thomas James, Conductor; Rosemary Glyde, Viola Solo
New York, NY

Interview: The Mind of the Artist

This is not a musical work, but rather an Library of Congress Podcast addressing a topic that fascinates me no end.  The description from the LOC post is reproduced below:

Title: The Mind of the Artist

Speakers: Michael Kubovy and Judith Shatin, University of Virginia
Series: Music and the Brain
Date: June 2009
Running Time: 26:29 minutes


Michael Kubovy and Judith Shatin of the University of Virginia discuss their presentation "The Mind of an Artist." Debate has long raged about whether and how music expresses meaning beyond its sounding notes. Kubovy and Shatin discuss evidence that music does indeed have a semantic element, and offer examples of how composers embody extra-musical elements in their compositions. Kubovy is a cognitive psychologist who studies visual and auditory perception, and Shatin is a composer who explores similar issues in her music.

About the Composer:

Judith Shatin (Allen) has a very informative website and blog here:

I am reproducing her bio below:

Judith Shatin ( is a composer and sound artist whose music, called “something magical” by Fanfare, reflects her multiple fascinations with literature and visual arts, with the sounding world, and with the social and communicative power of music. Shatin’s music has been commissioned by organizations such as the Barlow and Fromm Foundations, the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress, the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Arts Partners Program, as well as ensembles including Ash Lawn Opera, Da Capo Chamber Players, the Dutch Hexagon Ensemble, newEar,the National and Richmond Symphonies, and many more. Twice a fellow at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, she has held residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, the VCCA, La Cité des Arts (France), Mishkan HaAmanim (Israel), among others. Her Rotunda, a film collaboration with Robert Arnold, won the Macon Film Festival Best Experimental Film Award (2011), while her music for the film Cinnamon, by Kevin J. Everson, has been heard at festivals ranging from Sundance to Munich and Rotterdam. In demand as a master teacher, Shatin has served as BMI composer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University, as master composer at California Summer Music, and as senior composer at the Wellesley Composers Forum. She is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor at the University of Virginia, where she founded and directs the Virginia Center for Computer Music. Her work is featured in the recent book Women of Influence in Contemporary Music, Nine American Composers (Scarecrow Press). A staunch advocate for her fellow composers, she has served as President of American Women Composers and on the boards of the League/ISCM, American Composers Alliance, and International Alliance for Women in Music.

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All download links I have posted are for works, that, to  my knowledge, have never been commercially released in digital form.  Should you find I've been in error, please notify myself or an Administrator.  Please IM me if I've made any errors that require attention, as I may not read replies.

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