Jennifer Higdon (born 1962)
Zaka for sextet: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion
A 'Stravinskian' chamber work by the Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning composer
Published by Lawdon Press
Duration: 15 minutes
Program notes by the composer
za ka (zo ko) v. To do the following almost simultaneously and with great speed: zap, sock, race, turn, drop, sprint.
Commissioned as part of the national series of works from Meet the Composer Commissioning Music/USA, which is made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, the Target Foundation, and through fiscal sponsorship of Concert Artists Guild.
"...an energetic and tightly focused work that uses string instruments in percussive and unorthodox ways. It's sophisticated writing and playing of the first order."
— The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, CA)
"Jennifer Higdon's 'Zaka' is a fantastic sprint full of irrestible Stravinskian energy and rhythmic drive."
— MusicWeb International
"Higdon's music burst out of the gate, all smiles. Pianist Lisa Kaplan sounded the first notes inside the piano, and the race was on, the flute whooshing, percussion leading with rhythmic twists and turns that never were predictable. The sudden lyrical middle section, full of shifting, light sonorities, provided breathing room before the ensemble sprinted to the end."
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA)
"'Zaka' also showed emotional depths that the title did not convey; shadowy expanses touched with impressive lyricism and strands of melody that ultimately set this piece in perfect balance."
— The Journal News (Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties in New York)
"... [T]he first cut [of eighth blackbird's recording Strange Imaginary Animals is] Jennifer Higdon's 'Zaka.' A jolting opening with low piano notes will topple you and tie you to the listening post. The acrobatic melodies leap past with abandon and their speed is dazzling."
— Audiophile Audition