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William Schuman

Publisher: AMP

Judith, Choreographic Poem (Ballet) (1949)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
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Year Composed
24 Minutes
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Programme Note
William Schuman Judith, Choreographic Poem (Ballet) (1949)

Judith’s frequent bitonality and quintal harmonies lent BMOP to perform with grandiose phrasal gestures. The brass section brought vigor to the fervent, expanded sounds. Most compelling in the short poem was the use of counterpoint. A playful conversation between woodwinds and strings developed into a fugal section, adding a third part in the lower strings, and then deep contrast that brought the woodwind section with a strange, swinging tune that entered in the brass section. Subsequently, the canon reversed, starting with a duet between the brass and percussion (doubled in woodwinds), adding the strings and exploding into a new section. At the end of the piece, a great gust of sound whooped to the back of the hall, generating a reverberation that literally shook the room before the audience burst into applause.
Rachel Fuller, Boston Musical Intelligencer,31/10/2017
It was originally composed for dancer Martha Graham, with whom the composer had previously worked. In the climactic section, frantic winds and darting xylophone bumped up against striking, shadowy brass counterpoint, and Rose gave anvil-esque blows of brass and percussion space to ring out, the sound decaying slowly.
Zoë Madonna, Boston Globe,30/10/2017
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