About this work:
Fasting Heart ( 1987), for solo flute, was inspired by the Taoist discipline "hsin chai." As Professor Kaltenmark explains in his Lao and Taoism, this is a technique of purification in which one transcends the act of listening with the heart (or mind) to listen with the breath (or soul). The act of composing seems to bridge these two.
Fasting Heart embodies a journey in which contemplative motion is twice interrupted by violent outbursts. The timbral colors juxtaposes qualities of breath and voice with explosive outbursts. Extended techniques developed by the composer combine timbres of the voice and flute. The opening, for example, involves singing and humming into the instrument, combined with silent trilling that creates a fluttering effect. The flute resonates the sound in a warm and haunting way. Smaller pitch groups are aligned with an inward, contemplative focus, while more highly chromatic and registrally-torn motion faces outward. Fasting Heartwas recorded by Patricia Spencer on her CD of music by Musgrave and Shatin, called Narcissus and Kairos, on the Neuma label (CD 450-95).
Pan, the British Flute Journal, had this to say:
" This piece begins with a haunting use of singing into the flute reminiscent of Crumb's Voice of the Whale. The contemplative music which follows is interrupted by much more active, even violent, music. Shatin sees a connection between these in creating music. "a process in which there is a linking of inward journey and outward manifestation."
The Boston Globe called it "a colorful work for solo flute that mixes into the instrumental gynmastics the sounds of sung tones chanted through the flute.”
Ensemble type: Solo instrument, non-keyboard:Flute