FROM THE BOOK OF JOB for soprano and orchestra (Picc., 2 Fl., 2 Ob., Eng. Hn., 2 Cl. in Bflat, B.Cl., 2 Bsn., 1 C.Bsn., 4 Hn., 3 Trp. in C, 2 Ten. Trb., 1 B. Trb., Tuba, 4 Perc., Hrp., Celeste, Strings (16, 14 ,12, 10, 8)). 2001.Based on texts from the Book of Job and by the composer. From the Book of Job is an orchestral setting of Tetragrammaton, an earlier work for soprano and tape and is written for and dedicated to soprano Patricia Rosario. 13 minutes. Score and parts  available through PROMETHEAN EDITIONS.


Written for and dedicated to soprano Patricia Rosario, From the Book of Job is a reworking of an earlier work, Tetragrammaton, for soprano and tape. The text of the piece is a compilation from the Book of Job of the Old Testament, specifically from "Godís answer to Job" (verses 38:4-18). The conclusion of the first stanza of the selected text ("when the morning stars sang together, as the wind announced upon the waters the glory of the coming of man") is not a literal translation from Job, but is borrowed from Edgar Cayce, the 20th century American mystic and healer who has been a strong influence on my musical and extramusical thinking; the evocative and powerful character of this rendering made it impossible to resist its inclusion here. Before embarking on the composition of the piece and after reading the original text several times, I read Carl G. Jungís "Answer to Job", a remarkable work which Jung wrote towards the end of his life. Although I agree with Jung that the Book of Job is a turning point in the Hebrew concept of the Godhead and a founding stone for the subsequent advent of Christianity, I do disagree with his description of Godís answer to Job as pyrotechnics aimed mainly at impressing fear in Job and preventing him from questioning the Divine. To me the verses of the whole Book of Job and of that section in particular are sublime and of timeless beauty: they are just as inspiring and relevant today as when they were written. In setting these verses to music, I had no preconceived ideas about how the music should sound or evolve; I let the words take me wherever they wanted to go. I tried to create a "magical" context in which they could tell their own story without too much interference on my part. Tetragrammaton, the parent composition of the present work, was completed in February 1995. The years 1994 and 1995 were a "testing" period for me, a mid-life crisis if you like, which affected my work and my thinking about music, and Tetragrammaton along with some other works of the same period bear witness to my changing values, musical and otherwise. The common thread that permeates these works is the investigation of a situation where creativity is divorced from ego. In this process of soul searching, the Book of Job became a grand metaphor for a newly defined creativity. This book, like the parable of the Prodigal Son in the New Testament, is about a fundamental change in consciousness whereby an individual does not become creative through the solitary activity of "playing God", but by the far more rewarding one of "playing (or co-creating) with God". Six years later, the new rendering of this work for soprano and orchestra follows very closely the spiritual and aesthetic concerns of the original, although its orchestration is a bit less esoteric and more exuberant than the original electroacoustic rendering.

Premiere performance: February 17, 2006, 8:00 PM. Valdine Anderson, soprano; The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andrey Boreyko. Part of the Winnipeg New Music Festival. Centennial Hall, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Reviews and Comments:

Hatzis writes straight from the heart, with deeply felt spiritual roots that span a breadth of styles and influences. His work for soprano and orchestra, From the Book of Job, began in the depths with soloist Valdine Anderson's dramatic intoning "where were you." It takes a bit of gumption to score such lofty text, but Hatzis' utter conviction matched by the sensational Anderson singing the full gamut of her vocal range created a stirring highlight of the evening. Holly Harris, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, February 19, 2006 (Canada)

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