“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 Lord, I’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.
…The concert opened with After the Wave by Ms, Woolf. It started with a lone, faraway trumpet, answered from a seemingly great distance by oboe and English horn, that most desolate sounding of wind instruments…Swelling surges of strings and brass crashed and broke on the senses, at turns meditative and anguished, moaning of irredeemable loss…
The composer John Luther Adams who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Become Ocean.
St. Paul’s Chapel, located in the long shadow of the World Trade Center is one of the oldest and most historic churches in New York. On Thursday afternoon, the last matinee concert of the annual music series sponsored by Trinity Church featured another historic occasion: the second New York pperformance of Become Ocean, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning composition by John Luther Adams. This concert, featuring contemporary orchestra Novus NY under the baton of Trinity Church maestro Julian Wachner, paired Mr. Adams’ creation with works by contemporary composers Luna Pearl Woolf and Jessica Meyer. All three composers were in attendance. Continue reading “Superconductor: Concert Review: Let Me Drown. Novus NY plays Become Ocean.”→
…From the first few stark, distantly enigmatic notes of Luna Pearl Woolf’s After the Wave, …it was clear that Julian Wachner’s fearlessly eclectic ensemble had come to deliver a message…a flood of low tonalities and bracing close harmonies as haunting as anything in Adams’ work…
What’s the likelihood that the two opening works on a program featuring John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean would hold their own alongside that epically enveloping, meticulously churning, playfully palindromic masterpiece? It happened yesterday at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown, where Novus NY delivered a mighty coda to this season’s program of music on themes of water justice, staged by Trinity Church.
The pervasive cynicism that still exists at corporate rock concerts has roots in the classical world: “Let’s warm up the crowd with something short and random and then get down to business.” From the first few stark, distantly enigmatic notes of Luna Pearl Woolf’s After the Wave, a portrait of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami and its aftermath, it was clear that Julian Wachner’s fearlessly eclectic ensemble had come to deliver a message. With just the hint of foreshadowing, the methodical pulse of daily routine gave way to a flood of low tonalities and bracing close harmonies as haunting as anything in Adams’ work. From there the orchestra made their way through an unexpectedly triumphant latin-tinged fanfare of sorts, up to a conclusion that signaled triumph and recovery over an ocean of devastation. Continue reading “New York Music Daily: Vast, Intricate, Awe-Inspiring Oceans of Sound Downtown”→
NOVUS NY Ensemble will feature their fantastic performance of After the Wave from the Sunken Cathedral series on their website.
From the New York Times Classical Music in NYC listings:
NOVUS NY at St. Paul’s Chapel (May 18, 1 p.m.). If your John Luther Adams cravings are not fulfilled by the Crossing’s concert on Friday and Alarm Will Sound’s on Sunday, here’s a free lunchtime opportunity to hear “Become Ocean,” his symphonic masterpiece of tone painting, compositional process and ecological awareness, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. Alongside it, Julian Wachner conducts a premiere from Jessica Meyer and Luna Pearl Woolf’s “After the Wave.”
…The final work was indeed the highlight of the afternoon with a semi-world premiere of Ms. Woolf’s Opera, The Pillar with libretto by David Van Taylor … all we wanted was more than thirty something minutes!
On Sunday our dear friend, tenor Jonathan Blalock was in town as a soloist with the Washington Chorus at the National Presbyterian Church just up the street from our home, and we had to attend. The fact that the program was dedicated to new music and specifically the works of composer, Luna Pearl Woolf, who just had such a huge success with her world premiere of BETTER GODS at Wash Natl Opera made it even more of a treat.
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…