Chai Variations

Judith Shatin

About this work:
Chai Variations on Eliahu HaNavi was inspired by the folk song Eliahu HaNavi (Elijah the Prophet), often sung during the closing service of the Jewish Sabbath. The letters of “Chai,” which means “life” or “living” in Hebrew, symbolically stand for the number 18; hence, 18 variations. I decided to give the performer a choice regarding the ordering of the variations as a reflection of my sense of performance as a collaboration between performer and composer (and, for that matter, listener). It also reflects a dynamic conception of musical form. This means that there are 18! Or 6,402,373,705,728,000 possible orderings. In other words, there are six quadrillion, four-hundred-two trillion, three-hundred-seventy-three billion, seven-hundred-five million and seven-hundred-twenty-eight thousand possible versions! I composed this work while in residence at Brahmshaus in Baden-Baden during the summer of 1995. It is dedicated to the Abel family. Their warm welcome will not soon be forgotten, nor Herr Abel’s efforts to establish and administer this studio.
Year composed: 1995
Duration: 00:21:01
Ensemble type: Keyboard:Piano
Instrumentation: 1 Piano

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