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keyboard wizard Allan ZavodBallade For Annia in A Major by Allan Zavod

The Castan family commissioned the work in 1994 as a birthday gift and tribute to their matriarch, Annia. They wanted it to be a reflection and celebration of her life.

"Ballade For Annia", a work of fine artistic merit, is an example of program music that can be classified as Jewish because every element contributing to its composition has had a Jewish connection: the family who commissioned it, the subject matter, the composer and his intention.

Allan Zavod wrote the following about this piece:

"The 'Ballade for Annia in A Major' reflects many aspects of Annia's life. The Russian - Jewish theme, heard at the beginning depicts Annia's childhood days in Russia. The music then takes a triumphal turn as she is freed from the hardships of those early days.

Thirty years of yoga and meditation is next reflected in a musical mood that is both tranquil and contemplative.

Reminding us of Annia's heritage the Russian-Jewish theme returns, this time developing into a full blown anthem.

We pass through a brief musical transition as an introduction to a reflective passage which mirrors Annia, 'the naive artist'. The simple but strong melody goes hand in hand with her art, which delivers simplicity upon a mature base.

The triumphal theme is renewed, developing into a rousing coda to depict Annia as she is today, at eighty-five - a woman filled with the joy of living and a kindred spirit who embraces all that life offers to her.

Mirka Mora, one of Australia's most celebrated artists, is Annia's great friend and teacher. Mirka chose the bright colours for this CD cover to illustrate Annia's lively personality."

Allan Zavod held a live performance of 'Ballade For Annia' at a National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) fundraising concert in 1995