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Time To Burn: Music By Judith Shatin

Release Date: 04/29/2014 
Label:  Innova   Catalog #: 845   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Judith Shatin
Performer:  Margaret KampmeierJames DunhamI Jen FangAaron Hill,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SHATIN Glyph 1. Time to Burn 2. Grito del Corazón 3. Sic Transit 4. Hoshech Al P’ney HaTehom 5. Elijah’s Chariot 6 1 James Dunham (va); 1 Margaret Kampmeier (pn); Read more class="SUPER12">2 Aaron Hill (ob); 2,4 I-Jen Fang, 2 Mike Schutz (perc); 3 F. Gerard Errante, 3 D. Gause (cl); 1,6 Cassatt Str Qrt INNOVA 845 (75:08)

Over the course of a mere 75 minutes, 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). It is interesting to note that the first piece, Glyph (1984, for solo viola, string quartet, and piano), begins in rather welcoming fashion. This movement is marked “Luminous” (the others are “Flickering,” “Ecstatic,” and “Incandescent”). The playing here by soloist James Dunham is stunning: resonant and vital. The first movement invokes large open spaces (of time, possibly, as well as space); the more spiky “Flickering” offers excellent contrast and is superbly performed, especially in the virtuosity of the speedy pizzicatos. The ecstasy of the third movement is quite reverent in nature; the virtuosity of the beautifully, skillfully written finale is most satisfying.

The piece from which the disc takes its name, Time to Burn (2006), is far more overtly Modernist. Scored for oboe and two percussionists, it is a visceral reaction to world events, including holocausts and racism. The title refers back to the burnings of witches. The oboe part presents huge challenges (including multiphonics), magnificently overcome here by Aaron Hill, while the percussion element provides a terrifically exciting sense of momentum.

The Goya-inspired Grito del Corazón (2001) for two clarinets and electronics is far more than atmospherics. Again, there is a clear narrative thread that moves us through the piece’s five-minute duration. Sic Transit (2011) is the piece for percussionist and CADI (it is worth searching out the video mentioned in the interview above, also, just to see how it all comes together). Here, I-Jen Fang is the intrepid percussionist. As a critic who sometimes feels he has been exposed to too much percussion-only music in his time (and who has tended to relegate these pieces and discs to a space of interest only really open to percussionists), it is quite something to say that this piece grips throughout. The 1990 piece Hoshech Al P’ney HaTehom (1990, “Darkness upon the face of the deep”), for electronics, musically depicts the birth of a world. As Shatin points out above, it is not quite Wagnerian in that there are depictions also of lightning; but the link seems to remain, for this listener at least.

The ancient sounds of the shofar make the final piece, the 20-minute Elijah’s Chariot of 1995, a most stimulating experience. The sudden juxtaposition of the shofar’s primal sound and that of string quartet (which, some would claim, is the very embodiment of civilization itself) is marked. This is the longest piece on the disc and demonstrates clearly how Shatin’s feel for narrative can sustain longer timescales. The performance is magnificent, exuding confidence at every turn.

FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

Glyph, for viola, string quartet & piano by Judith Shatin
Performer:  Margaret Kampmeier (Piano), James Dunham (Viola)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1984 
Length: 18 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Time to Burn, for oboe & 2 percussionists by Judith Shatin
Performer:  I Jen Fang (Percussion), Aaron Hill (Oboe), Mike Schutz (Percussion)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2006 
Length: 10 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Grito del corazón, for saxophone (or other solo instrument) by Judith Shatin
Performer:  Judith Shatin (Electronics), D. Gause (Clarinet), F. Gerard Errante (Clarinet)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2001 
Length: 5 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Sic transit, for percussionist & computer-assisted drumming machine by Judith Shatin
Performer:  I Jen Fang (Percussion), I Jen Fang (Drum Machine)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011 
Length: 9 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Hosech al p'ney haTehom (Darkness Upon the Face of the Deep), for electronics by Judith Shatin
Performer:  Judith Shatin (Electronics)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1990 
Length: 11 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Elijah's Chariot, for string quartet & electronics by Judith Shatin
Performer:  Judith Shatin (Electronics)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1995 
Length: 19 Minutes 43 Secs. 

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