The awe-inspiring Primavera Project, co-directed by Matt Haimovitz and Dr. Jeffrianne Young, explores the influence and inspiration of music and art. Its six-release series is comprised of 81 world premiere solo cello compositions commissioned for Haimovitz. Each composer was asked to respond to Sandro Botticelli’s enigmatic painting, Primavera, and the prophetic large-scale triptych, Primavera 2020, by world-renowned contemporary artist Charline von Heyl. This second release Primavera II: the rabbits takes its name from the rabbit trilogy motive in von Heyl’s visuals.
Haimovitz’s arrangement of Josquin des Prez’s Kyrie (from Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae) opens. His conversational four-part contrapuntal playing ranges from moving, to dark singing tone colour above full harmonic chords. This is followed by 13 new works, each lasting under ten minutes. It is so fascinating to hear each composer’s own musical perception of the visuals. For example, Missy Mazzoli’s Beyond the Order of Things (after Josquin) has a contemporary orchestral storytelling sound with rhythms, pitch slides, fast runs and sudden atonal held notes. Tomeka Reid’s energetic Volplaning is an intense response to the paintings. Sudden loud single-line phrases and rhythmic detached notes add to the running and bouncing rabbit sensibility. Gordon Getty’s Spring Song is a slow, calming Romantic-style-influenced work, clocking in under the two-minute mark. Plucks, repeated notes and upbeat rock strings have the rabbits bopping in a bar in David Balakrishnan’s Theme and Variants.
Haimovitz understands and interprets each diverse work, playing all lines in stunningly beautiful, must-listen-to passionate performances.