My Scena: Grammy nomination for LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood

Nov. 24, 2020.

LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood, a Pentatone Oxingale Series recording, has been nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award in the category of Best Classical Compendium. The composer-portrait album, released in February, encompasses 25 years of dramatic vocal and choral works and hauntingly re-imagined Leonard Cohen masterpieces by the innovative American-Canadian composer. Luna Pearl Woolf: Fire and Flood features performances from the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Novus NY conducted by Julian Wachner, cellist Matt Haimovitz, soprano Devon Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata and Broadway actress Nancy Anderson. 

Noted among a new generation of politically conscious and artistically progressive composers, Luna Pearl Woolf’s music is praised by The New York Times for its “psychological nuances and emotional depth.” Opera Going Toronto called her recent Dora Award-winning opera, Jacqueline, “brilliant, wrenching… profoundly moving.” (Read more about Luna Pearl Woolf here.)

Of the album, The New York Times contributing writer Corinna Da Fonseca-Wollheim writes, “Luna Pearl Woolf trains a zoom lens on the collective experience, plunging us right into the midst of destruction and anarchy only to pull back, in one swoop, to a clear-eyed plane of compassion.”

The album includes the dramatic To the Fire, with text from the Book of Ezekiel; Missa in Fines Orbis Terrae, composed for the choir and organ of St. James Cathedral, Toronto; and the inventive One to One to One, inspired by the towering redwood sculptures at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Also featured is Après moi, le deluge, concerto for cello and a cappella choir written in the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One of Woolf’s most frequently-performed works – including in New Orleans and at Carnegie Hall in New York – it was described as “by turns blazingly ardent and softly haunting” by The New York Times. (Watch the video for Apres moi, le déluge here.)

Finally, Woolf reconfigures Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows and Who By Fire in haunting new arrangements. Combining the three women’s voices and Haimovitz’s cello, Woolf captures Cohen’s deep-voiced essence in a kaleidoscopic expansion of the original songs’ colors and timbres. (Watch the video for Cohen’s Everybody Knows here.)

This new Grammy nomination coincides with the 20th anniversary of the ground-breaking, Grammy Award-winning Oxingale Records. Launched in 2000 by cellist Matt Haimovitz and composer Luna Pearl Woolf, the label embraces both mind and heart, melding genres and navigating between the worlds of classical, new music, jazz, crossover and opera. Releasing their first recording of the Bach Cello Suites in 2000, they took the music of Bach into then-unimaginable venues for classical music, like punk palace CBGB, sparking what would become the alt-classical genre. Cutting-edge collaborators over two decades have included DJ Olive, David Sanford, John McLaughlin, Vijay Iyer, pianist Christopher O’Riley, the Miró Quartet, and conductor Dennis Russell Davies, among many others. January 2015 marked the debut of the Pentatone Oxingale Series, a new partnership with the Amsterdam-based label, which is renowned for its artistic quality and audiophile technology.

Read it at My Scena

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

Broadway World: Enter A Haunting World Of Dreams & Lullabies With ANGEL HEART: A MUSICAL STORYBOOK

By BWW News Desk December 5, 2018

Enter A Haunting World Of Dreams & Lullabies With ANGEL HEART: A MUSICAL STORYBOOK

Haunting, gentle spirits from far-flung worlds meet in the pulsing sphere of dreams and lullabies that is Angel Heart, a music storybook. With an original tale by best-selling children’s fantasy writer Cornelia Funke, Angel Heart weaves an evocative original score by Luna Pearl Woolf with beloved songs by Irving Berlin, Lennon-McCartney, Jake Heggie, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gordon Getty, and others. An affecting narration by Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons layers upon intoxicating performances by singers Frederica von Stade, Daniel Taylor, Lisa Delan, and Zheng Cao – all above a rich bed of cellos, Matt Haimovitz and his Grammy-nominated ensemble Uccello.

Exquisite images by the award-winning creative studio Mirada unfold the tale, and the deluxe boxed cd-and-story package includes a coloring poster, stickers and cards for sharing the magic. Originally released in 2013, and accompanied by premiere performances in Los Angeles and at Carnegie Hall in New York, this is the first international release of Angel Heart, from the PENTATONE Oxingale series, available for digital and CD release on December 7.

Read it at Broadway World

Q2 Music: Matt Haimovitz Channels Vast Dynamic Range in 4-Hour Retrospective, ‘Orbit’

Oxingale Records

August 10, 2015

A Q2 Music Album of the Week Selection.

'Matt Haimovitz - Orbit: Music for Solo Cello (1945-2014)'“Matt Haimovitz – Orbit: Music for Solo Cello (1945-2014)”(Pentatone Music)

I’ve got a cranium full of Matt Haimovitz at the moment, and have not yet reached capacity. Clocking in at 3.75 hours, the cello soloist’s latest release, “Orbit,” stockpiles the majority share of selections from five albums (on his Oxingale Records label), spanning 2003-2011, along with recent numbers by Phillip Glass and Luna Pearl Woolf.

To be clear, listening to four hours’ worth of any unaccompanied instrument is generally accepted as a legitimate defense in arson/public indecency/manslaughter trials, but here, Haimovitz cleverly arranges his three-album set more as a playlist than a triptych of full-lengths. Given his exemplary facility on the instrument, and the liberal span of repertoire he’s tackled since debuting with the Israel Philharmonic at age 13, “Orbit” is an expedition well worth…

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