Lemons Descending

Lemons Descending

Lemons Descending

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In Lemons Descending, the common thread of voice and cello conjures a contemporary musical world rooted in the traditions of a millennium. Soprano Eileen Clark and cellist Matt Haimovitz perform the recital ranging from Hildegard Von Bingen to John Tavener’s “Ahkmatova Songs”, from a first recording of Luna Pearl Woolf’s “Epithalamion” to Heitor Villa-Lobos’ beloved “Bachianas Brasileirsas No. 5″ in which Haimovitz has overlaid the eight parts in the all-cello orchestra. Also included in this chant-infused collection is original improvisation on Pablo Neruda’s eponymous poem, “Ode to the Lemon.” The album features original color etchings in a multi-panel eco-friendly package with accompanying booklet of the poetry.

The breadth and beauty of the poetry set in these pieces inspired a fine-art book entitled Lemons Descending: Music, Poetry, Etchings, from Oxingale Press. With this recording as its seed and poetry letterpress printed on hand-made paper, the book features the etchings of Michael Kuch, whose interpretations create a visual counterpoint to the compositions. Reviews for Lemons Descending:

An Idiosyncratic Recital Spanning Time And Styles To Good Effect
On a purely musical level, Lemons Descending proves to be exactly the kind of project a major label wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, and exactly the kind of focused artistic statement that artist-led labels should provide…We have an unusual recording by artists who have found music that works for them, presenting it in a way that effectively transcends differences of gender, time and place.”
–Gramophone

From the ethereal sounds of medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen to heavyweight Wagnerian opera, a flock of recent CD arrivals gives listeners some intriguing chances to hear the sound of great voices. Here are a several top recent releases in the vocal category:

“Lemons Descending,” soprano Eileen Clark and cellist Matt Haimovitz (Oxingale Records, http://www.oxingale.com): The unorthodox title gives you a hint of the unusual repertoire presented here, by the highly regarded soprano (she is most famous for her vocal work with the Mark Morris Dance Group). Her clear, eloquent voice is a great partner for the flexible and lyrical cello of Haimovitz, who matches her pitch-for-pitch in the ethereal medieval lines of the Hildegard of Bingen tracks, and provides compelling accompaniments in everything from the contemporary John Tavener songs to a quirkily improvisatory “Ode to the Lemon” (based on a Neruda poem). On the more traditional side is the often-heard “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5″ of Villa-Lobos, with Haimovitz recording all eight cello parts. It’s all decidedly different, and well worth a listen.
–Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times

1 Hidegard von Bingen: Slice For Saint Ursula (excerpt) Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
2 Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 – I. Aria Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
3 Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 – II. Dansa Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
4 John Tavener: Akhmatova Songs – I. Dante Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
5 John Tavener: Akhmatova Songs – II. Pushkin & Lermontov Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
6 John Tavener: Akhmatova Songs – III. Boris Pasternak Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
7 John Tavener: Akhmatova Songs – IV. Couplet Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
8 John Tavener: Akhmatova Songs – V. The Muse Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
9 John Tavener: Akhmatova Songs – VI. Death Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
10 William Sydeman: Three Songs After Emily Dickinson –  I. I heard a Fly buzz – when I died- Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
11 William Sydeman: Three Songs After Emily Dickinson – II. I taste a liquor never brewed Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
12 William Sydeman: Three Songs After Emily Dickinson – III. “Hope” is the thing with feathers Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
13 Luna Pearl Woolf: Epithalamion Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
14 John Tavener: The Child Lived Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
15 Clark/Haimovitz: Ode to the Lemon Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
16 Hidegard von Bingen: Slice For Saint Ursula Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello
17 Clark/Haimovitz: Ode to the Lemon II Eileen Clark, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello

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