By: My Scena Newswire 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.