View from Mt. Nebo

Excerpt: “Determined”

Da Capo Chamber Players, Complete Recording


Instrumentation: Piano Trio
Duration: 14:55
Commission: Garth Newel Chamber Players
Premiere: 8/24/86
Garth Newel Chamber Players
Garth Newel Center, Hot Springs, VA

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Program Note:
View from Mt. Nebo refers to the mountaintop from which Moses looked to the Promised Land he would never reach; it is the same mountaintop Martin Luther King Jr. referred to in his I Have a Dream speech. The story is one of striving for an important goal, even when it is beyond one’s own reach. Moses did lead his people to the promised land; that was more crucial than reaching it himself. This landscape also has a personal resonance: I spent a year in Israel as a student and felt the power of this monumental landscape, with its compelling starkness, luminescent atmosphere, and historical depth. The music reflects the combination of yearning for an impossible goal, as well as the joy at having reached another, perhaps more critical one. View from Mt. Nebo is cast in three movements. The first can be heard as reflecting the struggle of the journey; the second as a meditation on faith; the third as a radiant acceptance of fate. Tucked into the third movement is a reference to the Bach Chorale Es Ist Genug, with its rich quality of resignation. View from Mt. Nebo was commissioned and premiered by the Garth Newel Chamber Players. It was recorded by Da Capo Chamber Players on Dreamtigers, an album of Shatin’s chamber music on the Innova Label (#613). It was also the winner of the Jezic Ensemble competition, and as a result, was presented by the Ravel Trio.–JS

Press Quote:
“…View from Mt. Nebo, whose fervor recalls Shostakovich with a carefully wrought tension that raised more than bow hairs.”
The Washington Post

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