Would you call yourself a maverick? Judith Sainte Croix



Judith Sainte Croix
Photo by Jacqui Reher

Music communicates mysteriously in its ability to speak to the soul of living things, not just the human being, but animals and plants as well. It addresses our experiences that are universal and non-verbal. The I Ching has a quote I like, something about music dissolving the obscure tensions of the heart. Like a back–brush during a shower, music extends our reach to what lies beyond our grasp.

Creating music, for me, is about communication and tapping into the mysterious ways of music. During a meditative state, the music first presents itself as a vague, slightly amorphous feeling/image at the edge of consciousness. It gradually works its way up to the surface, where it forms structures, which are also appearing as images. These structures/images/feelings resonate with what I’m interested in saying; or with what I’ve been asked to write about.

The impulse to create and the structure and substance of the music, then, are all intrinsically connected. How one gesture follows another, or how pitches are selected, all originates from one place within.

To the listener it may seem that the music is stylistically diverse, or that incongruous materials, (like simplicity and complexity, tonality and atonality), are juxtaposed. However, the music is organized by an inner logic of the musical imagination, which retains a mysterious element to its process. Rhythms, melodies, textures, and harmonies become landscapes of sound. The landscapes express ideas, values, and meaning regarding society, history, and spirituality.

Perhaps some of what I’ve expressed here causes others to think of me as a maverick—in that I’m following my own drumbeat, so to speak. I find a kindred spirit in the life and work of Leo Ornstein and especially love his Piano Quintet of 1927, perfectly recorded on New World Record’s disc entitled Leo Ornstein.