UW CONCERT CHOIR WITH CELLIST MATT HAIMOVITZ
April 28, 8 PM, Mills Hall
Presenting “Après moi, le deluge” by composer Luna Pearl Woolf. With Matt Haimovitz, cello.
and “for Paris,” a world premiere for solo viola and choir by UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger. With Sally Chisholm, viola.
Beverly Taylor, Conductor
$15 adults/$5 students
Buy tickets online (on sale March 1) or in person at the Memorial Union Box Office. Tickets will also be sold at the door.
“Ferociously talented” (New York Times) cellist Matt Haimovitz, known for his renditions of the Bach Cello Suites as well as contemporary works, will return to Madison on April 28 to perform a work that he premiered here 11 years ago with the UW Concert Choir, one of UW-Madison’s most advanced choirs.
“Après moi, le deluge,” a 22-minute composition for cello and choir, was written by his wife, composer Luna Pearl Woolf, to a text by poet Eleanor Wilner. Après Moi, le Déluge was written in the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the United States’ Gulf Coast in late August 2005.
“Après moi, le déluge” are reputed to be the last words of Louis XV, king of France from 1715-1774 and the heir of Louis XIV, the king for whom Louisiana was named. Louis XIV’s legacy to Louis XV was a nation bankrupted by war and imperial ambition, a debt levied on the peasantry while the nobility lived tax-free. Louis XV ruled ineffectively, lived luxuriously, and died the most unpopular king in French history. “The words ‘après moi le déluge’,” according to Paul Jay of Independent World Television News, “have come to epitomize the psychology of those who ruin people and the earth with no thought for tomorrow.”
Après Moi, le Déluge was commissioned by Haimovitz as part of his “Buck the Concerto” series of commissions for cello and unusual ensembles. It was premiered in 2006 by Haimovitz and the UW-Madison Concert Choir with Beverly Taylor and recorded live for Oxingale Records. Haimovitz and the choir later took Après Moi, le Déluge on tour, performing in New Orleans in November, 2006. Après Moi, le Déluge also forms half of a ﬁne-press book entitled Waterlines, with woodcuts and etchings by Michael Kuch, from Oxingale Press and Double Elephant Press.
At Harvard University prior to 1995, Concert Choir conductor Beverly Taylor directed the international prize-winning Radcliffe Choral Society, where she met Woolf, then a student at Radcliffe.
Since the 2006 premiere at UW-Madison, “Après moi, le deluge” has been performed many times, including in New York’s Trinity Wall Street Church on June 3, 2012. That concert also featured one of Schwendinger’s works, “Six Choral Settings.”
New York Times reviewer Steve Smith called “Après moi, le deluge” a “strikingly allusive concerto for cello and chorus that movingly reflects on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Somber, sardonic and bluesy, the episodic work received an impassioned account, with soulful solo work by Mr. Haimovitz, the soprano Martha Cluver and the bass-baritone Dashon Burton.”
Haimovitz, who is nominated for a Juno Award for Solo or Chamber Ensemble of the Year for his CD, “Overtures to Bach,” made his cello debut at age 13 with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. His first recording was for Deutsche Grammophon at age 17 with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is considered a musical pioneer, favoring innovative venues and approaches to music. He is professor of cello at McGill University in Montreal. The New Yorker calls Haimovitz a “maverick cello virtuoso, who has long marched to the beat of a different drummer.”
Learn more about Haimovitz:
- Full biography, Oxingale Records
- Featured on Minnesota Public Radio, February 2017
- How he broke the neck of his 1710 “Matteo” Goffriller cello
- His latest CD, “Overtures to Bach,” pairs preludes to the Bach Cello Suites with newly-commissioned overtures, including one from Philip Glass
- News about Haimovitz
Another major work on the program will be a world premiere of a work for viola and choir, “for Paris,” written by UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. Sally Chisholm, violist of the Pro Arte Quartet, will be featured.
Schwendinger says: “The viola starts this short work by referencing only for a moment the merest idea of a “musette song,” one that might be heard on an evening in a Paris cafe. The choir enters with a simple refrain that repeats as an unanswered question of sorts. And each time the viola reenters the texture, it asks its question in a more pressing and poignant manner, until it arrives in its highest register, only to resolve with the choir with a quiet acquiescence in the knowledge that the answer may not be known.”