Ignoto Numine

The Monticello Trio

Instrumentation: Piano Trio
Duration: 15:00
Commission: Monticello Trio
Premiere: 11/23/86
The Monticello Trio
The Jewett Art Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

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Program Note:
Ignoto Numine, whose title means “Unknown Spirit,” refers to certain aspects of traditional sonata and concerto forms only to annihilate them. Organized as a bipartite structure that features harmonic and thematic transformation that hark back to sonata form, as well as virtuosic cadenzas associated with concerto form, Ignoto Numine violates these forms timbrally and structurally. The pianist uses timpani mallets and snare sticks on the piano strings and the violinist and cellist both have timbral effects that transcend traditional techniques. The use of special timbral techniques helps shape the extreme range of tones of voice, ranging from the tender quality of the secondary thematic region to the fiercely wild cadenzas and ending.–JS

Press Quotes:
“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.”

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