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Audiocassette of music by Julie Kabat, a composer/performer of rare individuality with a wild array of instruments including glass harmonica. She is joined by other artists in this extraordinary alliance between music, theater, and poetry. This cassette (#LE 319cs) Half of the works here are on CD #LE350.

Cassette Notes

Kabat: On the Edge

Continuing delight in myth and symbols has led Julie Kabat to collaborate with artists from many areas of the world and to study Noh Theater in Japan. In finding her own voice, she has developed an individual style of singing, often in a language without words that brings us close to the world of dreams. Kabat has toured in the U.S., Canada, and Japan.

She began studying composition at age eleven with Ron Nelson of Brown University. Her major composition teachers have been Hall Overton and Jacob Druckman. Kabat has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, New York State Council on the Arts, and the Beard's Fund, among others. She has composed vocal and chamber music for visual artists, instrumentalists, and theater productions, including the premiere production of Quad by Samuel Beckett. Kabat has recorded other music on a CD released by Centaur Records.

The recording opens with Five Poems by H. D. H.D., pen name of Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961), was an American imagist poet. Many of her poems reflect her love of Greek mythology. Kabat has chosen five poems that move from the lyrical and delicate to the dramatic. The last poem concerns the approach of death. The poet sees Death, the Helmsman, poised in the boat, and at that moment, she looks back: "We fled inland with our flocks...." There follows the whole panorama of life and the sensuous nature of the earth, with very beautiful imagery and soaring music.

Invocation in Centrifugal Form was composed as a prelude to the play Dead Sure by Francine Stone, produced by the Circle Repertory Theatre Company. The music illuminates the inner voices, the state of mind, of the main character, Anna. It begins as a meditative piece. The glasses generate a central drone against which the voice tunes itself, but then other voices intrude upon Anna's peace of mind - the remembered voices of her mother, children, and others. The voice moves further from the center, increasing the tension, until of necessity, at the octave, a resolution unfolds, and the form of the circle is complete.

On Edge explores the experience and the sounds of grieving. It opens with Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, where the grown child speaks to the father who is dying. An intense improvisation for voice, drums, and piano follows. It leads without a break into a fierce declamation of A Otro Joel by Joel Filartiga. Filartiga is a doctor, artist, and independent dissident in Paraguay whose eighteen-year-old son was tortured to death. This became an important international case when the torturer was captured in the United States and brought to trial, setting a precedent that established torture as a crime against humanity. In the poem, Filartiga addresses his son, with longing for the life that might have been, and utter conviction in the struggle against man-made wrongs and the bearers of death and nothingness.

A Mi Hija (To My Daughter), a lament for voice and saw, follows. The poet, Cadel, belongs to the Argentine group, Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo, who marched every week in defiance of the military government to protest the torture and disappearance of their children. In the poem, Cadel speaks to her daughter who has disappeared. The saw amplifies the mother's obstinate, tender cry.

Kalimba Alight is at once a lullaby, a love song, and a beckoning. The vocalizing is utterance of a different nature - full of joy and light. Emotions followed through emerge into their opposites. We find hope on the other side of despair or fury; we find love and life, and it is a blessing.




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