To Keep the Dark Away

Pianist Gayle Martin

Instrumentation: Piano
Duration: 11:00
Commission: Ellen Waldo for Gayle Martin
Premiere: 4/17/11
Gayle Martin, piano
Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, NY

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Program Note: 

To Keep the Dark Away is a solo piano piece inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Both the title and each of the five movement names are drawn from lines of her poetry. The piece was commissioned by Ms. Ellen Waldo for pianist Gayle Martin, to whom it is dedicated. Both shared my enthusiasm for Dickinson’s poetry. I composed To Keep the Dark Away while awaiting surgery and the images of all five poems felt especially apt: from the first, with its singing to keep the dark away to the internal glee of the second, the dark strength of the third, the ethereal light of the fourth and the flight into music suggested by the fifth. The lines that serve as movement titles are given below, with the numbers associated with them.This is the third piece I composed for Gayle Martin, who has been the muse for my piano compositions since we were students at The Juilliard School. Previous pieces include my piano concerto, The Passion of St. Cecilia, and a solo recasting titled  Fantasy on St. Cecilia. –JS

1. #850 To Keep the Dark Away
2. #326 A Glee Possesseth Me
3. #686 An Actual Suffering Strengthens
4. #1577 The Auroral Light
5. #500 Whose Spokes a Dizzy Music Makes

Press Quote:

“…it is the intricately beautiful new music of Judith Shatin and Gayle Martin’s playing of it that which makes this album so very special. The composer finds her inspiration for the intriguing opus that gives this CD its title in the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Structured as five brief pieces whose titles yield clues to the tone of each one, To Keep the Dark Away is effortlessly original and most intriguing….” –All About the Arts (Rafael de Acha)

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