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An Encyclopedic Recital

Elizabeth Moak plays
Judith Lang Zaimont -
heard by the late

'... a stature of compelling merit.'

Art Fire Soul - Piano Works of Judith Lang Zaimont - Elizabeth Moak. © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont

Pianist Elizabeth Moak's recent performances include Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Québec. Winner of the Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition and several national competitions including the National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Auditions, Elizabeth has performed extensively in the United States and Europe. As soloist, she has also appeared on national television, radio, and with orchestras of the American south.

Moak has received awards for her collaborative work from the Music Academy of the West and Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University (studying with Leon Fleisher, Ann Schein, and Julian Martin).

For Art, Fire, Soul, Moak, who studied at Peabody Conservatory and the Suisse Neuchâtel Conservatory, is a celebrated Baltimore debut performer of a versatile, diverse, self-recommending concert programme focusing on numerous works by acclaimed performer, author and academician, Judith Lang Zaimont (born Tennessee, 1945).

Listen — Judith Lang Zaimont: Cortège for Jack
(CD2 track 13, 0:00-0:58) © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont :

Zaimont encompasses a spectrum of genres: symphonies, opera, wind ensemble, chorus and solo voice, chamber music and several solo instruments. Moreover she is known for a body of works with a spirit of rhapsody, abrupt shifts in texture, tonal coloring and exploratory atmospheres.

Listen — Judith Lang Zaimont: Serenade for Piano
(CD2 track 30, 0:00-1:31) © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont :

The whole lengthy shebang (2 hours 58 minutes) is divvied up into Concert Pieces (disc 1) and Character Pieces (disc 2). Furthermore Zaimont's layout is conspicuously ordered and frequently congenial in outlook. However, the twenty-nine-minute Sonata (1999-2000) reveals a wholly individualistic content with three movements (Ricerca, Canto and Inpronta digitale) standing out for striking structure and appealing coloration; the Beethoven reference (Piano Sonata No 8 in C minor, Op 13, 1798) distinguishes the heartbeat of Zaimont's 'Canto' while track 3 lends the work cumulative stature. Moak's attention to small detail and feeling for large-scale momentum is as appropriate as can be.

Listen — Judith Lang Zaimont: Canto (Piano Sonata)
(CD1 track 2, 0:00-1:15) © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont :

Informative annotations add to a release that seems bound to attract listeners and musicians alike.

Zaimont is wonderfully observant in contemplating the seasons: spring (tracks 4-6), summer (tracks 13-15) and autumn (tracks 17-19); cityscapes: Portrait of New York (tracks 15-20) and domestic considerations: In My Lunchbox (tracks 22-26).

Listen — Judith Lang Zaimont: Swimming Tuna (In My Lunchbox)
(CD2 track 22, 0:00-0:32) © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont :

Jupiter's Moons (2000) singles out four of the Galilean moons, Jovian satellite bodies; Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto.

Listen — Judith Lang Zaimont: Europa (Jupiter's Moons)
(CD1 track 8, 0:00-0:53) © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont :

Then listen carefully for Leda (track 9), Jupiter's ninth and smallest moon (9.9 miles / 16km in diameter). Leda was discovered by American astronomer Charles Kowal (1940-2011) in 1974.

Listen — Judith Lang Zaimont: Leda (Jupiter's Moons)
(CD1 track 9, 2:57-4:29) © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont :

In A Calendar Set — 12 Virtuosic Preludes (1974-5) at the start of CD2, Zaimont/Moak track autobiographically (one assumes) through the months of a whole year.

Listen — Judith Lang Zaimont: The Carols (A Calendar Set)
(CD2 track 12, 3:30-5:05) © 2011 Judith Lang Zaimont :

Zaimont has a rare capacity for crafting wide-ranging, stylistically accessible and heartfelt piano music that's both challenging and audience-friendly. MSR's notable clarity is especially ear-catching and the standout Moak tonal aptitude gives her encyclopedic recital (with a number of its items world premiere recordings) a stature of compelling merit.

Copyright © 18 February 2016 Estate of the late Howard Smith,
Masterton, New Zealand


This review, submitted to M&V on 20 February 2013 in an email with the subject line 'FROM A TO ZEE. ZAIMONT & MOAK.', is one of more than eighty left unpublished when Howard Smith passed away suddenly on 4 August 2015. Howard's family has kindly given permission for his material to continue to appear here. At the date of publication, Art Fire Soul - Piano Works of Judith Lang Zaimont was still available from MSR Classics.








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