HOME BIO ABOUT "RUTH and NAOMI" OTHER WORKS CONTACT
Things a Viola Can Do 2020
for viola and speaker
Close video

One way and Another 2019
for woodwind quintet
1.Allegretto 2.Adagio 3.Gigue 4.Allegro
Patagonia Winds
Baltimore, November 24, 2019
Close video

PTSD (2019) audio
Audio Link (synthesized sound)
Close audio

PTSD (2019)
Jisoo Kim, conductor
Baltimore Philharmonia, May 5, 2019

PTSD Program Note

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), first diagnosed in war veterans, has since become recognized in survivors of and witnesses to violence, accidents, and natural disasters, and more recently has been diagnosed— and this is how it applies to me personally— in people who were primary caregivers for terminally ill loved ones. www.joel-bishop-obrien.com My piece conveys PTSD symptoms I have had since my husband's illness and death in 2004: feelings of dread, helplessness, sadness, fearfulness, and horror; insomnia coupled with recurrent nightmares. These symptoms too often disrupt attempts to protect and cherish tender memories. Medication helps. So does composing, which I first started doing in 2006 at the age of 62 in the wake of my husband's death, and which has added a new dimension to this latest phase of my life.
Close video

Only Albinos Have White Skin (2019)
Harriet Katz, reader
Karen Johnson, flute
John Kilkenny, percussion
Baltimore, April 7, 2019
Close video

Lyrics

Only albinos have white skin.
They have no melanin.

In parentheses:
people with white splotches have Vitiligo disease.

Drumroll please.

The rest of us have varying amounts of pigmentation,
produced by thousands of years of human migration
through varying amounts of ultra-violet radiation.

Put us all in a row, arranged by skin tone—we form a spectrum.
Races don't exist in nature. Racism invented them.

Make-up companies nowadays
Feature the spectrum in their displays.
L'Oreal: porcelain to nut brown.
Maybelline: espresso back to porcelain.

It didn't used to be that way.
Fashion Fair Cosmetics— Black Radiance today–
introduced make-up for deeper skin in 1973.
Major companies followed swiftly,
Selling deeper skin tone lines —BUT separately.
The inclusivity spectrum has only been marketed recently.

Footnote:
There's another spectrum of skin colors too.
Bruises give ROY-G-VB.
Thank you.

Words and music © 2019 by Harriet Katz

Hannukah Medley for Flute Choir (2016)
Baltimore Flute Choir
Towson MD December 15, 2018
Close video

Angles and Archways (2018)
L'Abri Trio
Baltimore, November 17, 2018
Close video

Our Species (2016)
Annie Gill, soprano
Nicholas Levy, tenor
Tim McReynolds, piano
Baltimore, April 21, 2018
Close video

Text by the composer

Our species
leaves a lot, a lot, a lot to be desired

We like to think that we were good guys at the start.
We had groups, not troops.

We were hunting, gathering, talk talk talk talk talking,
Making jewelry and music and art.

But because of the recent discovery of a 10,000-year-old massacre
That view is coming apart.

Farming's also to blame.
People with lots of crops could store and hoard
Others had less while they had more
Et voila! War! Forever
On and on and on and on and on.
And war-- along with its companion rape--
Functions as an evolutionary tool
To diversify and thereby strengthen the human gene pool.

Today, still more of the same, the same, the same.
Plus, since the Industrial Revolution, Pollution!

New York puts its garbage on barges.
Plastic's wreaking havoc with the ocean.

"Nature's Balance" now is just a brand name.

Our species leaves so much, so much to be desired,
We should be fired!

Mosaic (2017)
West Shore Piano Trio
Baltimore, November 18, 2017
Close video

On A Golden Morning (2017)
Baltimore Philharmonia Orchestra
Towson, MD April 30, 2017
Close video

Companions (2017)
Harriet Katz, composer/cello
George Wiese, trombone
Baltimore, March 22, 2017
Close video

Skein of Silk (2017)
Samira Phillips, violin
Ellen Schwindt, piano
Baltimore, March 22, 2017
Close video

Our Species (2016)
Annie Gill, soprano
Joseph Regan, tenor
Tim McReynolds, piano
Baltimore, November 19, 2016
Close video

Lyrics

Our species
leaves a lot, a lot, a lot to be desired

We like to think that we were good guys at the start.
We had groups, not troops.

We were hunting, gathering, talk talk talk talk talking,
Making jewelry and music and art.

But because of the recent discovery of a 10,000-year- old massacre
That view is coming apart.

Farming's also to blame.
People with lots of crops could store and hoard
Others had less while they had more
Et voila! War! Forever
On and on and on and on and on..

And war-- along with its companion rape--
Functions as an evolutionary tool
To diversify and thereby strengthen the human gene pool.

Today, still more of the same, the same, the same.
Plus, since the Industrial Revolution, Pollution!

New York puts its garbage on barges.
Plastic's wreaking havoc with the ocean.

"Nature's Balance" now is just a brand name.

Our species leaves so much, so much to be desired,
We should be fired!

"Our Species" words and music © 2016 by Harriet Katz

Some Points Eve Would Like To Make (2016)
Annie Gill, soprano
Tim McReynolds, piano
Baltimore, November 19, 2016
Close video

Lyrics

You know my namesake's story.
It has no glory.
It's even gory,
this tale told way back when
by men.

Eve gets all the blame.
They say she started shame.

They claim
because she didn't heed what the man at the top said,
and shared a piece of fruit instead,
that she unleashed the peril:
our knowledge of good and evil.

I'd like to make a point
about the myth they coined.
Evil would still exist
even if Eve did desist.

It's all around us,
it's deep within us.

The worst thing about humanity--
the fact that we kill each other--
is blamed on our supposedly first family,
especially the mother.

I'd like to make a point about my family.
Our lives are not a hell.
I raised my sons well!
Cain is a landscape architect
and Abel a veterinarian.
Some sibling rivalry when they were very young,
but now they're decent, caring men.
Fratricide? No way!

Fratricide, sororicide,
matricide, patricide, infanticide,
homicide, genocide!

Eve didn't start this.
Let's hope we can end it.

I'd like to make just one more little point.
I'm sure my namesake's story's made of fibs.
But just in case, here's my advice:
Don't order spareribs.

words and music © 2011, 2016 by Harriet Katz

Following A Thread
for string quartet (2016)
Azimuth String Quartet, May 21, 2016, Baltimore
Close video

Hanukkah Medley for Orchestra (2015)
Baltimore Philharmonia Orchestra, December 2015, Towson MD
Close video

Hanukkah Medley for Flute Choir (2015)
Baltimore Flute Choir, December 2015
Close video

Suite for Brass Quintet 2015
1. Processional 2. Courante 3. Pavane 4. Recessional
Lyric Brass Quintet, November 2015, An die Musik, Baltimore
Close video

Scrollwork
for cello duo, 2011
(this performance May, 2015)
Jason Love and Harriet Katz, An die Musik, Baltimore
Close video

Among the Reeds
for wind quintet, 2014
pre-concert talk
Atlantic Reed Consort, An die Musik, Baltimore
Close video
Close video

Along the way
for violin-clarinet-piano trio, 2013
Trio Musai, Howard University, Washington DC
Close video

Al(l)ways (audio)
for soprano, clarinet, violin, viola, and cello, 2012
commissioned by Shirley Katz Cohen
Ever, Never, If Only, But, No, Maybe, Yes
Close audio
Lyrics
  1. Ever (clarinet, violin, viola, cello)
  2. Never (soprano, clarinet, violin, viola, cello)
    text: Emily Dickinson, "There is a Pain"

    There is a pain - so utter -
    It swallows substance up -
    Then covers the Abyss with Trance -
    So Memory can step
    Around - across - upon it -
    As one within a Swoon -
    Goes safely - where an open eye -
    Would drop Him - Bone by Bone.

  3. If Only (soprano, clarinet, cello)
    text: Matthew Arnold, stanza from "Longing"

    Come to me in my dreams, ...
    For so the night will more than pay
    The hopeless longing of the day

  4. But (soprano, cello)
    text: Shalom Freeman, from "Despair" (used by permission)

    Despair ... the realization that one has done what one could - and one is not going anywhere else ...

  5. No (violin, viola)
  6. Maybe (soprano, clarinet)
  7. Yes (soprano, clarinet, violin, viola, cello)
    text: Rainer Maria Rilke, from "The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge"

    "It is not enough to have memories. ...One must have great patience. ... For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves - not until then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them."


Some Points Eve Would Like to Make (audio)
for soprano, violin, and cello, 2011
commissioned by Jewish Women's Theatre
Close audio

Lyrics

You know my namesake's story.
It has no glory.
It's even gory,
this tale told back then
by men.

Eve gets all the blame.
They say she started shame.

They claim
because she didn't heed what the man at the top said,
and ate a piece of fruit instead,
she unleashed the peril:
our knowledge of good and evil.

I'd like to make a point
about the myth they coined.
Evil would still exist
even if Eve did desist.

It's all around us,
it's deep within us.

The worst thing about humanity -
the fact that we kill each other -
is blamed on our supposedly first family,
especially the mother.

I'd like to make a point about my family.
Our lives are not a hell.
I raised my sons well!
Cain is a landscape architect
and Abel a veterinarian.
Some sibling rivalry when they were very young,
but now they're decent, caring men.
Fratricide? No way!

Fratricide, sororicide,
matricide, patricide, infanticide,
homicide, genocide!

Eve didn't start this.
Let's hope we can end it.

I'd like to make just one more little point.
I'm sure my namesake's story's made of fibs.
But just in case, here's my advice:
Don't order spareribs.



©2011,2013,2015,2017,2018,2019,2020 Harriet Katz. All Rights Reserved.