Vocal Music


Aria: "Ashes are the bread I eat"

For mezzo-soprano and piano (4:30)
Text: Bible [from oratorio LAMENTATION]
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by the Gregg Smith Singers, Philadelphia Singers, Dale Warland Singers and I Cantori (Los Angeles), through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
First Performace: Gregg Smith Singers and Florilegium Chamber Choir, May 1985 Other Performances: Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Sigma Alpha Iota; Georgia State University; University of Minnesota

"The most moving piece was an aria from 'Lamentation,' a large-scale oratorio dating from 1982. The aria's biblical text ['Ashes are the bread I eat'], which deals with the Jews' exile into Babylonia, was set in a straight forward, atmospheric, syllabic manner. Its stark piano accompaniment and long-breathed, darkly eloquent melodic line (adapted from fragments by the Renaissance madrigalist Carlo Gesualdo) proved extremely apposite."
-- The Atlanta Constitution
The Ages of Love (1971)

For baritone and piano (12'30")

"Chaste Love" (Lord Byron)
"Love's White Heat" (Edna St. Vincent Millay)
"Disdainful, Fickle Love" (Millay)
"An Older Love" (Millay)
"Love's Echo" (Christina Rossetti)
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
First Performance: Queens College, CUNY, March 1974
Other performances: Indianan University of Pennsylvania; University of Alabama - Huntsville
Chansons Nobles et Sentimentales (1974) - View discography entry

For high voice and piano (13')

"Harmonie du Soir" (Baudelaire)
"Chanson d'Automne" (Verlaine)
"Claire de Lune" (Verlaine)
"Dans l'Interminable ennui de la plaine" (Verlaine)
"Depart" (Rimbaud)
Texts in French
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by Michael Trimble, Cleveland Institute of Music
First Performance: April 1975
Other Performances: Alliance Française (New York); Cincinnati Conservatory

"Haunting settings of delicate verses...."
-- Stereo Review

"Of special interest are five French songs; Zaimont brings a fresh and individual response to poems by Verlaine and Baudelaire that have attracted generations of celebrated composers."
-- Boston Globe

"...vocal line of great beauty and lyricism supported and enhanced by the piano part. An important contribution to American song literature."
-- American Music
Coronach (1970)

For soprano and piano (11'30")
Texts: Doris Kosloff, Adelaide Crapsey, J.L. Zaimont, William Jay Smith, Stephen Crane
Publisher: composer

Deep Down - A Spiritual (1982)

For medium-low voice and piano (5')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Text: J.L. Zaimont
Commissioned by David Arnold
First Performance: Spelman College, Georgia

“Eternal is Thy Pow’r, O Lord”  
      (Aria  from SACRED SERVICE: see Orchestral )    
For medium high voice and piano (or organ)
Performed:  world-wide
Publisher:   American Art Song for the Sacred Service  2004
Classical Vocal Reprints,  #CVR 3834    www.classicalvocalrep.com
Four Songs for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano (1965)
"anyone lived in a pretty how town"
"three wealthy sisters"
"the sky"
"most people"
Text: e.e. cummings (9')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
First Performance: Queens College, CUNY, June 1965
Other Performances: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
From the Great Land: Woman's Songs (1982) - View discography entry

For mezzo-soprano, clarinet (Eskimo drum), piano (22')

"She is Left on the Ice"
"Passion: The First Dream"
"Lullaby: he Second Dream"
"Counting Song: The Third Dream"
"Lament -- Interlude - Lullaby"
"She Dies"
Text: Frank Buske
Publisher: Jeanné, Inc.
Commissioned by the North Star Consort, through a grant from the Exxon Fund for the University of Alaska.
First Performance: Bayreuth, Germany, May 1982
Other Performances: Carnegie Recital Hall; Kansas State University; St. Louis; CAMI Hall (NYC); International Clarinet Congress (London); College Music Society; Radio Station WQXR (NYC)

"A tremendously effective song cycle."
-- Birmingham News

"In eight sections, the cycle is dramatic, theatrical, and very effective."
-- The Baltimore Sun

"The major work on the recital was From the Great Land. This is a large, dramatic and evocative work."
[International Clarinet Congress, London, England, August 1984] -- The Clarinet

"Powerful and inspired, Zaimont's chromatic language is appropriate for such a dark subject.... Her ingenious use of instrumental color, such as the Alaskan pan drum, keeps our imagination churning. The dusky mezzo-soprano croons a series of dreams and memories; ... her use of the clarinet mouthpiece to produce devilish effects suggesting sound of the wilderness, is especially imaginative."
-- Women of Note Quarterly

"The seven songs cover a wide range of emotional and theatrical expression, describing life in the cold north. Several thoughtful, free, and quite beautiful sections, contrasted with sections of powerful dramatic intensity ... A rather unusual text and its most effective setting."
-- NATS Journal
Greyed Sonnets: Five Serious Songs (1975) - View discography entry

For soprano and piano (14')

"Soliloquy" (Millay)
"Let It Be Forgotten" (Sarah Teasdale)
"A Season's Song" (Millay)
"Love's Autumn" (Millay)
"Entreaty" (Christina Rossetti)
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
"Soliloquy" issued separately by Galaxy Music (E.C. Schirmer) in American Art Song Anthology, Vol.I
First Performance: CAMI Hall, NYC, November 1975
Other Performances: Around the world

"Zaimont is clearly a composer of the first rank and her music deserves the widest circulation... A wide range of moods is also tellingly delineated here; there is much variety of atmosphere from song to song and Zaimont clearly possesses a keen sense of characterization, pacing, and drama. Zaimont invariably composes excellently for both voices and instruments."
-- New Music Connoisseur

"Judith Lang Zaimont's 'Greyed Sonnets', a fine setting of five poems, is strongly emotional, suiting the texts, yet carefully constructed."
-- (Raymond Ericson) The New York Times

"A very moving cycle to women poets by Judith Zaimont."
-- (John Rockwell) The New York Times

“All are love poems – poems, though, of love in the shadow of pain and death, of unhappy memories and of the desire to forget, expressive of the feelings of women whose loves have died.  The interaction of seasonal cycles and the non-renewing pattern of individual human life and death on earth govern this subtle cycle, a cycle which once again confirms the astuteness of Zaimont’s eye for suitable poetic texts.”      
-- MusicWeb International
High Flight (1980)

For high voice and piano (3'30")
Text: John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Publisher: composer
First Performance: Georgia State University, April 1985

In the Theatre of Night: Dream Songs on Poems of Karl Shapiro (1983)

For high voice and piano (28')
Publisher: Galaxy Music (E.C. Schirmer)
Commissioned for the First International Petit Jean Art Song Festival
* Theodore Presser Publication Award
* On repertoire list for Carnegie/Rockefeller competition: vocal music
First Performance: Conway, Arkansas, May 1983
Other Performances: Peabody Conservatory; Sounds from the Left Bank series (NY); Baldwin Studios; Manhattan School of Music; St. Louis Conservatory; Arizona State University; Adelphi University

"These reflections on the war and the Holocaust, characterized by the contrast of little, lyrical interludes with angular settings of longer texts, are moving."
-- The Baltimore Sun

The Magic World: Ritual Music for Three (1979, 1980) - View discography entry

For baritone, piano and percussion (wood blocks, tambourine, triangle, cymbals, jingle bells, Almglocken, tubular bells, tom-tom, bell-tree, glockenspiel) (23')
Text: American Indian texts
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Six Song Cycle written for Duncan Bockus, Connecticut Opera Association.
"First Flower Song"
"Firefly Song"
"Storm Song"
"A Spell to Destroy Life"
"Second Flower Song"
"Elegy Dream Song"
First Performance: New Haven, CT, March 1983
Other Performances: Heckscher Museum - Long Island ; Contemporary Music Forum (Washington, DC)

"A colorful and commanding work. This is contemporary music you really want to hear again."
-- The New Records

"Highly imaginative...a fascinating sonic context. Versatile treatment of the poetic elements maintains a high level of interest throughout. Zaimont's range of creative possibilities is unencumbered by partisan prejudices, resulting in one of the most satisfying 'New Romantic' pieces that I have heard."
-- Fanfare

"This is a piece of considerable poetic and incantatory power. Zaimont has freely allowed the words to stimulate her musical imagination, and a 'magic world' of compelling rhythmic energy, provocative instrumental textures and haunting melismatic melody is the impressive result."
-- Ovation

“An interesting and distinctive cycle …  powerful and striking”.    
MusicWeb International

"Exhilarating and sometimes spectacular replication of the Indian's spirit and creed -- his flower songs, his ghost dance, his storm song stamping a whirlwind, lightnings, thunder and great rains, his mystic, destructive spells."
-- Deseret News
Nattens Monolog - Night Soliloquy (1984)

Scena for soprano and piano (16')
Text: Dag Hammarskjold (from Markings)
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by Arleen Augér and Dalton Baldwin
First Performance: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, March 1985

"Miss Zaimont's 'Nattens monolog,' with a text by Dag Hammerskjold, is a progression of shifting scenes and moods, all hovering around the idea of death. Its elegant piano accompaniments, the greatly varied but always coherent melodic writing made this piece intensely interesting and at moments quite beautiful."
-- The New York Times

New-Fashioned Songs (1983)

For low voice and piano (16')
Revised version for medium voice and piano

"Fair Daffodils" (Herrick)
"When, Dearest" (Suckling)
"The Eagle" (Tennyson)
"It is a Beauteous Evening" (Wordsworth)
"The Host of the Air" (Yeats)
Commissioned by David Arnold
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Psalm 23 (1978)

For baritone, (or mezzo-soprano), flute, violin, cello, piano (8'15")
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
First Performance: Aviva Players, April 1980, Sarah Lawrence College
Other Performances: Gettysburg College; Baltimore Women's Symphony

Songs of Innocence (1974) - View discography entry

For soprano, tenor flute, cello, harp (10'45")

"Piping Down the Valley Wild"
"Elegy: The Garden of Love"
"I Asked a Thief"
"How Sweet I Roam'd"
Text: William Blake
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by Gregg Smith
* Winner of the Los Alamos International Wind/String Composition, 1978
First Performance: Cubiculo Theatre, NYC, March 1974
Other Performances: Memphis New Music Festival; Northwestern University; University of Minnesota

“Effective imitative writing…  lovely interplay.”  
-- MusicWeb International

"Showed great depth and feeling."
-- Memphis Press-Scimitar

"Vibrant and effective."
-- New Music Connoisseur
Two Songs for Soprano and Harp (1978) - View discography entry

"At Dusk in Summer" (Adrienne Rich)
"The Ruined Maid" (Thomas Hardy)

Publisher: Lyra Music (10'10")
Commissioned by the New York State Music Teachers Association
First Performance: November 1978 - Saratoga, NY
Other Performances: College Music Society; Society of Composers, International; Res Musica Baltimore

“Some passages are rhapsodic, some fierce and clipped…. An attractive, particularly effective piece.”
-- MusicWeb International

"Imaginative settings for voice and harp."
-- American Music

"Very clever, professional treatments of interesting texts. Neither song goes on a note longer than it should. Zaimont's work has both quality and personality."
-- High Fidelity

"Though this marvelous, exuberant pair of songs scarcely constitutes a 'cycle,' it does fully exploit the meaning of the poetry, especially as realized in the finely wrought performance."
-- Notes

"Judith Lang Zaimont's two songs for high voice and harp were for me real high points. The harp writing is substantial, varied, sonorous, and idiomatic without clichés; the vocal lines are gracious and expressive, with a relaxed and accurate treatment of text prosody. I can't see any forward-looking harpist keeping these out of personal repertoire."
-- Barney Childs, Perspectives of New Music
Vessels: Rhapsody for Mezzo and Piano (1991)

Text by Rosalyn Roffman (14:30)
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
* Commissioned for the Second Festival of Women Composers -- Indiana University of Pennsylvania through grants from the University and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
First Performance: Sarah Mantel, mezzo and Susan Wheatley, piano, Festival Co-Directors, March 1991
Other Performances: Northwestern University, Minnesota Music Teachers Association
Virgie Rainey - Two Narratives for Soprano, Mezzo and Piano (2002) - View discography entry

I. The day Miss Katie died...
II. Für Elise...

Text: Eudora Welty (from The Golden Apples) slightly adapted by the composer; used by permission of Mary Alice White (11')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Sound files on the Internet at    www.oeuvre.com.au
* Commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard B. Wilson Jr.
First Performance: Millsaps College (Jackson, MS)
Other Performances: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota

“The first setting interweaves the two voices quite beautifully in music of considerable poignancy, the second is splendidly comic and alert as the words relate Virgie Rainey’s struggles with the piano, with which she has a decidedly troubled relationship – there are some mock-clumsy evocations of Beethoven and some fine moments engagingly poised on the boundary between the comic and the melodramatic.”
-- MusicWeb  International

Will's Words (1990)

Scena to Shakespeare texts (22')
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by David Arnold (baritone, Metropolitan Opera) for his debut in Wigmore Hall, London

A Woman of Valor (1977) - View discography entry

For mezzo-soprano and string quartet (7'30")
Text: Bible: Proverbs 31
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Commissioned by Cantica Hebraica
First Performance: November 1978
Other Performances: Eastman School of Music; Gettysburg College; Baltimore Women's Symphony; Univ. of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

“Very beautiful.   Each section  sings.”   -- ClassicalNet

“A beautifully lyrical piece, in which the music is closely responsive to the text.   The writing for string quartet is both elegant and forceful..”
-- MusicWeb International

"A very lyrical work which perfectly sets the mood to express the words of the text. The string writing is very idiomatic and provides a sensitive accompaniment."
-- Women of Note Quarterly

top of page