Fasting Heart

Instrumentation: Solo Flute
Duration: 10:35
Premiere: 11/6/87
Judith Pearce, Flutist
Alexander Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

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Program Note:
Fasting Heart (1987), for solo flute, was inspired by the Taoist discipline “hsin chai.” As Professor Kaltenmark explains in his Lao Tzu and Taoism, this is a technique of purification in which one transcends the act of listening with the heart (or mind) to listen with the breath (or soul). The act of composing seems to bridge these two. Fasting Heart embodies a journey in which contemplative motion is twice interrupted by violent outbursts. The timbral colors juxtapose qualities of breath and voice with explosive outbursts. Extended techniques developed by the composer combine timbres of the voice and flute. The opening, for example, combines singing and humming into the instrument, with silent trilling that creates a fluttering effect. The flute resonates the sound in a warm and haunting way. Smaller pitch groups are aligned with an inward, contemplative focus, while more highly chromatic and registrally-torn motion faces outward. Fasting Heart was recorded by Patricia Spencer on her CD of music by Musgrave and Shatin, called Narcissus and Kairos, on the Neuma label (CD 450-95).–JS

Press Quotes:
“…there was a dazzling performance by flutist Suellen Hershman of Fasting Heart by Judith Shatin, a colorful work for solo flute that mixes into the instrumental gynmastics the sounds of sung tones chanted through the flute.”
The Boston Globe

” …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

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