Orchestral Music

Chroma: Northern Lights (1986) - View discography entry

1-1-1-1; 1-0-0-0; perc; strings (11')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
* Winner of National Competition for Chamber Orchestra (First Prize)
In honor of the Statue of Liberty Centennial
First Performance: Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, April 1986
Other Performances: Westchester Chamber Orchestra; Jacksonville Symphony; Nassau Symphony Orchestra; Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra; Cleveland Chamber Orchestra

Chroma—Northern Lights is scored for only single woodwinds, horn, percussion, and strings. Zaimont commands these resources with impressive authority and skill.” -- Jeremy Marchant, Fanfare

“A fascinating study in orchestral textures and rhythm. The music has a cell of three bars that gets stretched and tossed throughout the musical texture with fine woodwind writing on display throughout.  Though filled with nervous energy, the piece closes rather quietly but well-thought out in its minute-long final bars.” – Cinemusical

“Dynamism and shifting images that transfix the listener.”  – Canfield, Fanfare

"Using the broad palette of the orchestra to capture the visual patterns of the Aurora Borealis, Zaimont proves herself a sensitive symphonic colorist much in the manner of Debussy or Ravel."

-- Newsday

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1972)

piano solo; 3-3-3-3; 4-2-3-1; timp-perc; strings (32')
Publisher: Fleisher Collection

ELEGY for Symphonic Strings (2000) - View discography entry

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing
First Performance: New York Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Raffael Adler, cond. - March 1998.
Other performances: Women's Philhamornic (San Francisco), Kremlin Chamber Orchestra (Moscow, Russia), Czech Radio Orchestra, East Texas Symphony, Chinese National Orchestra (2008).

“This is music of profundity, and surely is destined to survive for future generations to enjoy.”  – Canfield, FANFARE

 “Zaimont’s divisi string writing is often gorgeous and always  commanding.”  – Jeremy Marchant

"A very beautiful 9-minute Elegy, introspective and emotionally pure (though harmonically luxuriant in its much-divided string textures).
-- Lehman in American Record Guide, November/December 2000

JoyDance in Spring (2012)

String Orchestra with sectional soli  (4:00)

Publisher:  Subito Music Corp.
*Commissioned by CAMERATA BERN  in honor
    of its  50th Anniversary

Monarchs: Movement for Orchestra (1988) - View discography entry

pic-2-2-Eng hn-Eb cl-2-b cl-2; 4-3-3-1; 4 perc-piano; strings (15')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by the Emrys Foundation
First Performance: Greenville (SC) Symphony, April 1988
Other performances: (Bay Area) Women's Philharmonic

"A work that utilizes with persuasive eloquence a wide range of orchestral colors and compositional techniques. Zaimont lays out in clear display her formal concepts, contained masterfully by a centrifugal moving tonality that never lacks direction."
-- The Greenville (SC) News

"Monarchs, composed in 1988, is perhaps the most arresting piece by Zaimont known to me. No indication of the significance of the title is given in the program notes, so it could refer to either rulers or butterflies, as far as we know. The notes do, however, suggest that the single, 18-minute movement falls loosely into sonata-allegro form, although it gives the impression of being through-composed, with a continually shifting yet convincingly coherent succession of colorful and imaginative sound images. This is one of the most satisfying works from the late 1980s that I have heard...."
-- Walter Simmons, Fanfare, May/June 2001

Pure, Cool (Water) - Symphony No. 4 (2013)

  in  a current   ( The River  )   -  flowing, full
  as  a  solid  ( Ice )
          -  abstract; primarily quiet unfoldings but with outbursts
  falling drops  ( Rainshower  )  
           -   off-center multi-meter scherzo featuring percussion
  still ( The Tarn )   -  melody-rich
  in  waves  and  torrents  ( Ocean  and  Waterfall )
         - event-filled; dramatic or serene by turns

2-2-2- bass cl-2   1-4-3-1   timp + 3 perc.  strings  (40:00)

REMEMBER ME: Symphony No. 2 for Symphonic Strings (2001) - View discography entry

1. Ghosts  2. Elegy  3. Dancin' over my grave

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing
First Performance: New York Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Raffael Adler, cond. - March 1998.
Other performances: Women's Philharmonic (San Francisco), Kremlin Chamber Orchestra (Moscow, Russia), Czech Radio Orchestra, East Texas Symphony.

“The music is a fascinating blend of musical quotation taken to a different level.  Usually, quotation music tends to come from familiar composers or tunes.  Zaimont’s “ghosts” here are from the likes of Scriabin, Britten, Ravel (whose La Valse may be the easiest quote to hear), Berg, Christopher Rouse, and Laurie Anderson.  Her own ideas move along with the sounds of these other composers being inferred alongside her own and mingled loosely together against divisi strings.  Two solo violin ideas create additional intriguing textures.

       One need not know, or recognize the stylistic ghosts here to appreciate Zaimont’s superb orchestration or deft handling of thematic material.  The accessibility of her own musical language also allows for a captivating entry into her soundworld.

       What is interesting most in this movement is not the sense of dissolution of musical pasts, but the aural discovery of possible new directions tonal music might embark even as it pays homage to earlier post-tonal composers who stretched the edges of Romanticism in their own ways.” – CINEMUSICAL


"In this most direct piece of music I’ve tried to mask nothing, and speak purely in every moment.

The six composers alluded to in Ghosts are all ones whose music touches me. Specific moments from particular pieces come and go -- meant to be discovered by the listening ear -- as the themes commingle within an original structural concept, morphing into one another in ways impossible to imagine in the originals. Some references are quite clear, others are merest hints, nuances, whispers. Likewise, tonality appears and, swirlingly, dissolves throughout the movement. Such ‘ghostly’ transparencies as manifest themselves do not properly alight, but instead hover.

In the close-knit yet harmonically luxuriant Elegy, a single long melody begins in measure one and is spun out through the movement in one continuous song. Tonally pristine, the movement has an intentional British cast. Phrases proceed in long arches, and the sense of semi-cadence ( ‘half-close’) is purposeful, to honor the memory of my aunt, Mildred Barrett-Leonard Friedman, who died at too early an age in autumn 1997.

Dancin’ over my grave is really a species of ‘demonic’ passacaglia. A devilish, insistent main theme is sprinkled about, supported by an ensemble playing noises as well as notes -- all there to keep the beat -- amidst a general, syncopated flavor of ‘fiddling’. Harmonies favor a jazzy, slithery-chromatic tonality, and technical flourishes abound.

Refreshment of color and texture on a continuing basis is important to the two outer movements. Much of the time the orchestra is divided into more than its five standing sections, and in all three movements soloists from any (or all) of the five departments are called upon.

-- Judith Lang Zaimont

Sacred Service for the Sabbath Evening (1976) - View discography entry
baritone (or alto) solo; chorus SSATB; 2(pic)-2 (Eng hn)-2-2; 2--2-2-0; timp-piano; strings (72')
Publisher: Galaxy Music Corporation (E.C. Schirmer)
Oratorio commissioned by the Great Neck Choral Society, in honor of the US Bicentennial.
First Performance: June 1976, Great Neck, NY.
Other Performance: Princeton Pro Musica

“Zaimont finds gold. Though she, like Bloch, strikes an epic note, it's her own epic note.
     Her orchestration in particular is striking,  very French. She builds firmly over larger spans. Nothing meanders. All her lines give you the feeling that they lead somewhere, and the destination, though unpredictable, seems right once you arrive. She's not afraid of dissonance, but she's also not shy about writing a good tune. Yet the tune is hardly ever the point of her work. All the compositional elements – melody, harmony, rhythm, color, and motific argument tend to find a hierarchical equilibrium
     The choral writing throughout cannily mixes declamatory, homophonic passages with simple, clear contrapuntal ones. Zaimont concerns herself with making the text intelligible, even through large orchestral and vocal resources.

My favorite movement, the fourth ("Why do we deal treacherously"), sets off squibs of stretti and jazzy syncopations in the chorus against the soloist, who repeats the same tune throughout – the "answer" to the choral question: "Seek good, not evil, that ye may live." The movement pays tribute to Zaimont's skill not only in marshalling all her forces, but also in her handling of the solo repetition, which never sounds merely repetitive.  Rather, we get a drama between chorus and solo, with the answer struggling for resolution and finally emerging from a choral disintegration into whispers.”   
--  Classical Net

"Zaimont's new setting of 'Sacred Service' proved to be a beautiful, musically rewarding piece which held the audience's interest throughout and won an ovation at the finish. Her score is complex yet always accessible and expressive. The music invariably seemed to fit the words. . . which came alive in glowing or intensely moving fashion. Zaimont's orchestration was also impressive. She used all the sections to excellent advantage and blended them in skillful fashion."
-- The Trenton Times

"The Sacred Service sings out with a new and startling beauty. It inspires and disturbs as it brings to us one of America's most important new talents."
-- Cantor Arthur S. Koret, Emanuel Synagogue, Hartford, CT

"Judith Lang Zaimont has brought a new and exciting voice to liturgical music. Her ideas are fresh; her combination of voice with text, added to her considerable skills in choral and orchestral writing have created a memorable composition."
-- Canton Paul Kwartin, Cantica Hebraica

"The star of the evening was a performance of Judith Zaimont's Sacred Service for the Sabbath Evening. The work is an oratorio using the text of the third Sabbath Evening Service from The Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship found in Reform synagogues. The orchestration was extremely colorful. The writing was always interesting and never trite. Filled with traditional harmonies, the piece is extremely accessible and received a glorious realization from the Pro Musica chorus and soloist David Arnold."
-- Princeton Packet

STILLNESS - Poem for Orchestra (2005) - View discography entry

Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
2-2-2-2 (with standing auxiliaries) // 4-2-2-1 // hrp // tymp. + 1 perc // stgs (14')
*Composed at Copland House in spring 2004 (Aaron Copland Award work).

“A highly rewarding work that engages the interest of the listener throughout.” – Canfield

“Fascinating and brilliantly-colored … consistently engrossing. “ - Simmons

"While much of my music is energetic, with dance rhythms at its core, I have long wished to explore a more contemplative, large-framed piece that would do two things simultaneously: exploit the color resource of a standrd-size orchestra, *and* meld together the compositional ways of achieving stasis -- while yet retaining strong listener interest -- using techniques of two composers whose music I find highly intriguing: Morton Feldman and Frederick Delius. So the springboard for this poem stems from exploring the differing manners in which each of these two composers (plus perhaps one or two others) manage proportion and 'dwell'.

-- Judith Lang Zaimont

Symphony No. 1 (1994) - View discography entry

3-3-3-3; 4-3-3-1; harp; piano; 4 perc; strings (28')
Publisher - Subito Music Corp.
* Winner of 1994 McCollin International Competition for Composers (First Prize)
Commissioned by the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra
First Performance: April 1994
Other Performances: Philadelphia Orchestra - subscription series, January 1996.

"Enriched post-tonal harmonies and kaliedoscopic scoring convey a joyful sensibility...unpredictable yet sensuous and effusive."
-- American Record Guide, Summer 2007

"This three-movement work is made of primary colors, bold sweeps of sound, widely spaced and often consonant brass chords. They proclaimed a central musical idea that moved through the entire work and blossomed in the jaunty march tune that closes it. Zaimont exploits the true sound of the trumpet and trombone, the violas and the sweetness of the violin's upper strings. The broad range of percussion instruments included nothing exotic, just brass, skins and wood. The music was an affirmation of the elements of the orchestra. The work often proposed lyrical, woodwind ideas and string passages of flowing grace. They were spaced by big, bronzy chords and interjections and percussive outbursts. The march that closes the works uses intricacy to suggest simplicity. Its opening tested everyone's agility and rhythmic security before it turned into a winning march tune. The composer took the stage at the end to face an enthusiastic audience."
-- Daniel Webster in The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The three-movement half-hour-long Symphony is a gorgeously-scored creation. I., a 12-minute moderato, begins softly with a spell-casting shimmering, out of which emerge fleeting, evocative wisps (most notably an oboe tunelet over sighing strings) and, soon after, more aggressive and turbulent gestures (some with jazz inflected syncopations). These two elements are intermingled and contrasted with enough surprise and complexity in an original form that yet feels uniform and convincing. II, an adagio, is a richly-scored chorale interrupted by a nocturnal scherzo, while the Finale (marked simply Brisk) finally and for once announces (if briefly) a straightforward melody -- a high-spirited can-can."
-- Lehman in American Record Guide

Tarantelle (1985)

2pic-2-2-Eng hn-2-2; 4-2-3-1; 3 perc; strings (7')
Publisher : Galaxy Music Corporation (E.C. Schirmer)
Commissioned by the (Johns) Hopkins Symphony
First Performance: March 1985
Other Performances: Harrisburg Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Madison (WI) Symphony

"The piece is awash with drama and tone color."
-- Hopkins News-Letter

"A frothy French frolic . . . filled with color."
-- Baltimore Evening Sun

Man's Image and His Cry (1968)

baritone and alto soli; chorus SSATB; 2-2-2-2; 2-2-2-0; perc; strings (20')
Publisher: composer
* Winner of Gottschalk Centenary Competition Gold Medal (First Prize)


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