TheWholeNote Editor’s Corner – February 2020 | Luna Pearl Woolf: Fire and Flood

Written by David Olds January 27, 2020

“A wonderful cross-section of Woolf’s vocal writing that bodes well for the new opera.”

This month Tapestry presents the world premiere of American composer Luna Pearl Woolf’s latest opera, Jacqueline. Coinciding with this is the Pentatone release of Woolf’s Fire and Flood on the Oxingale label (PTC5186803 naxosdirect.com). This striking vocal disc features mostly recent works for a cappella choir (the Choir of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner) with soloists in several instances and, in the most memorable selection, Après moi, le déluge, obbligato cello (Matt Haimovitz). After a virtuosic cello cadenza, this work develops into a bluesy and occasionally meditative telling of the story of Noah and the Flood which culminates in the gospel-tinged LordI’m goin’ down in Louisiana before gently subsiding. After a rousing arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows for vocal trio and cello, comes a modern-sounding but fairly tonal Missa in Fines Orbis Terrae with the choir accompanied by Messiaen-like organ (Avi Stein). The vocal trio (sopranos Devon Guthrie and Nancy Anderson with mezzo Elise Quagliata) return for One to One to One, in this instance accompanied by the low strings (three cellos and three basses) of NOVUS NY. Having begun with the close harmonies, murmurs, shouts and extended vocal techniques of the a cappella To the Fire with full choir, the disc ends with the vocal trio once again joined by Haimovitz for a raucous setting of Cohen’s Who by Fire to close out an exceptional disc. A wonderful cross-section of Woolf’s vocal writing that bodes well for the new opera.

Read it on thewholenote.com

Hoosier Times: Voces Novae program a unique combination of words and music

Oxingale Music

March 3, 2013

For Susan Swaney and her Voces Novae Chamber Choir, the reason for a performance has always been music plus.

So, this evening’s concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church, titles “Decadence and Disater, appears to fit into tradition. It’s centerpiece is “Après Moi, le Déluge.” for choir and cello, composed by Luna Pearl Woolf

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The Washington Post: Washington Chorus makes splendid theater out of Luna Pearl Woolf’s works

Oxingale Records

Massachusetts-born composer Luna Pearl Woolf returned to Washington on Sunday for a concert devoted to her music: two chamber works, a semi-operatic piece and excerpts from an upcoming opera. Woolf’s stature has been growing significantly in the world of new music. All four compositions in Sunday’s concert pushed the dramatic parameters of soprano and chorus — voices often forced to the extreme. Likewise, cellist Matt Haimovitz, Woolf’s husband, had many chances to shine in expressive wizardry as an accompanist to the singing and sometimes even as a protagonist. As part of the series New Music for a New Age, the Washington Chorus was directed by Julian Wachner, whose pungent conducting brought equally pungent results from the performers.
Soprano Marnie Breckenridge has sung everything from soloist in Johannes Brahms’s German Requiem to La Princesse in Philip Glass’s “Orphée.” In Sunday’s “Odas de…

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