PRIMAVERA IV – the heart
PRIMAVERA IV the heart is the fourth of six albums in a momentous series encompassing 81 world premieres for solo cello. This digital album presents 13 new commissions for groundbreaking, multi-GRAMMY nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz as part of THE PRIMAVERA PROJECT. A collaboration between Haimovitz, artist Charline von Heyl, and director Jeffrianne Young, THE PRIMAVERA PROJECT is inviting 81 composers to respond to two paintings, Sandro Botticelli’s enigmatic painting, Primavera (ca. 1480), and the prophetic large-scale triptych, Primavera 2020, by world-renowned contemporary artist Charline von Heyl.
Passing the halfway point of the commissioning cycle, PRIMAVERA IV the heart presents an eclectic mix of composers who gravitate to various themes in the paintings. Three approaches to the Graces – by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Tyshawn Sorey, Pulitzer-prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis, and award-winning Justine F. Chen – offer three distinctive interpretations of the Graces. Justine F. Chen’s Iridescent Gest highlights the moto perpetuo kinetic energy of the dancers; Tyshawn Sorey’s Three Graces offers a dramatic, richly nuanced and complex arc through the interlocking gestures of the graces; and Aaron Jay Kernis’ Grace reimagines the heart of each of J.S. Bach’s Six Suites for Cello Solo, the Sarabande, in search of a timeless musical language.
The album begins with legendary violist and composer Atar Arad’s Aviv, a suite of miniatures traversing a wide range of styles, from Jewish modes to Scottish bagpipe music, playful to mournful (“Once Upon a Time – Highland – Song – Humoresque – Elegy – Spring Dance”). Canadian Brian Current’s Chlorisflora shatters our cello expectations with a whole new sphere of timbres and extended techniques (including the use of a paper clip), depicting the earthly flowers and vines that grow out of the nymphs. Nina C. Young’s pentimento also expands the sound palette adding an electronic tableau to haunting acoustic fragments that emerge from the layers of texture. Pulitzer-prize-winning Paul Moravec’s Your Own Shadow contemplates the only words in Charline von Heyl’s Primavera 2020, a three-note motive metamorphosing from a virtuosic show piece to an ethereal melody in harmonics. Jazz trumpeter and composer Rob Mazurek takes us on a Prokofiev-tinged theatrical voyage with Venus in Shadow World.
Argentinian-Canadian Analia Llugdar’s Anima vento evokes the East Wind, the breath of Zephyrus, with a wide-ranging spectral imagination. Juno Award-winning Canadian Vincent Ho’s Blindfolded Cupid taps into vernacular music, unfolding with a series of progressively more wound-up riffs. From the Canadian sub-Arctic, Carmen Braden explores a range of emotions and subtext of the Primavera paintings with Her Arranged Marriage to Oranges. Two returning composers, Nigerian-American Nkeiru Okoye and Gordon Getty contribute new Primavera Project pieces: Okoye’s Breaking Bread merges Spirituals with Bach mock-polyphony; and Gordon Getty’s Winter Song, following his Spring Song released on PRIMAVERA II the rabbits, continues the nonagenarian’s traversal of the seasons with the promise and comfort of nature’s cycles.
This album was recorded February 7-10th, 2023 in the artist studio of Charline von Heyl in Marfa, TX.