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Angel Heart music storybook: New York premiere at Carnegie Hall October 21

The haunting, evocative music storybook Angel Heart, released in September as a deluxe CD package, makes its New York premiere as a live multimedia family concert narrated by actor Chris Noth at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Monday, October 21. Hailed as “a fairy tale for the digital age” (Wall Street Journal), Angel Heart enjoyed a sold-out world premiere at UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances earlier this month. With a new story by best-selling children’s fantasy writer Cornelia Funke, interspersed with lullabies and songs arranged for voices, cellos and mandolin, Angel Heart builds on the tradition of musical stories like Peter and the Wolf. San Francisco Classical Voice called the premiere “magnetic” and “magical,” and the San Francisco Chronicle noted that composer Luna Pearl Woolf’s music was “inventive and arresting.” The project’s performers are cellist Matt Haimovitz, his all-cello ensemble Uccello, and vocalists Frederica von Stade, Lisa Delan, Daniel Taylor, and Bruce Rameker, with guest appearances at Zankel Hall by mandolin player Avi Avital and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The stage director is Brian Staufenbiel.
Robert P. Commanday opened his San Francisco Classical Voice review of the Berkeley premiere:
“After all the hundreds of musicals that have gone down the pike, take heart, there are still unlimited ways to tell a story in music. A very different way of telling, Angel Heart, charmed its first audience, of adults and children (lots of them) in UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall last Sunday afternoon. … The accompaniments were all imaginatively recreated, re-harmonized, the voicing and interplay of the cello ensemble’s parts achieving a constant play of effects, shimmering, haunting, often with gorgeous obbligato melodies. This cast much of the magic that was evoked in the telling of the story.”
Chris Noth, best known as Sex and the City’s “Mr. Big,” will appear as guest narrator at Zankel Hall on October 21 in New York. He has scored multiple Golden Globe nods for his key roles in Sex and the City and two other hit television series: Law & Order and The Good Wife.  Noth’s most recent film is Lovelace, with Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard. His family-oriented work includes the lead role in the comedy short Tooth Fairy.
Angel Heart, a music storybook – the live performances, deluxe CD package, and forthcoming app – combine Funke’s text with Woolf’s original music, and arrangements of new and traditional songs by Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie, Engelbert Humperdinck, Lennon-McCartney, David Sanford, Lewis Spratlan, and Woolf. Its distinctive visual component is provided by creative studio Mirada, which specializes in integrating classic storytelling with new technologies. Founded by director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, of Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim fame, along with Grammy Award-winning director and producer Matthew Cullen and Javier Jimenez, Mirada recently won a Cannes Silver Lion Award for MirrorWorld, a previous Funke collaboration. The studio’s striking visuals will be projected live at Angel Heart’s New York premiere.
The project was born when composer Luna Pearl Woolf and soprano Lisa Delan discovered a shared “dream of lullabies.” Together, they compiled a selection of songs reflecting their musical loves – some by composers ranging from Engelbert Humperdinck to Lennon and McCartney, others traditional folk songs and lullabies. Arranged for the intimate and sumptuous sounds of an all-cello ensemble, these songs were interwoven with original music of a more virtuosic nature that Woolf – best known for Après Moi, le Déluge, her “unsentimental but moving tribute” (New York Times) to the victims of Hurricane Katrina – composed herself.
Seeking a story to help draw these musical strands together, Woolf and Delan turned to German-born children’s author Cornelia Funke, whose books have already sold more than 20 million copies, prompting the Los Angeles Times to marvel, “Funke builds wild, wondrous worlds with her words.” The collaboration proved a natural fit; as Publishers Weekly noted in a recent Angel Heart feature, “The three women effortlessly made a strong creative connection.” In Funke’s resulting narrative, a young girl whose heart has broken into a thousand pieces meets a guardian angel, who enlists the help of four spirits to mend it. The story is geared for preschool through primary school children; the music is for audiences of all ages.
Both Woolf and Delan independently conceived of collaborating with Trailblazer Award-winning cellist Matt Haimovitz, Woolf’s husband, and his Grammy-nominated ensemble, Uccello. The cellists will perform the songs and musical interludes with a starry lineup of singers headed by legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, a recent inductee to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; with Delan herself, whose voice Opera online calls “spellbinding”; countertenor Daniel Taylor, winner of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal; and baritone Bruce Rameker, of the Grammy-nominated Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble.
Following this month’s premiere presentations – and September’s Oxingale Records release, which features Jeremy Irons’s narration – Angel Heart will also be issued as an iPad app. Created in close collaboration with Mirada, this will offer a new, music-centered approach to tablet-based storytelling.
Further details of Angel Heart’s multimedia family concert are provided below.

Angel Heart: multimedia family concert
Oct 21 – 7 PM
New York, NY
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
Presented by the Angel Heart Music Foundation in partnership with Carnegie Hall
New York premiere
Chris Noth, narrator
Matt Haimovitz and Uccello
Lisa Delan, soprano; Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano; Daniel Taylor, countertenor; and Bruce Rameker, baritone
Avi Avital, mandolin
Brooklyn Youth Chorus / Dianne Berkun-Menaker, Artistic Director
Brian Staufenbiel, stage director
Story by Cornelia Funke
Music by Luna Pearl Woolf
Visuals by Mirada
Additional music:
“All Through the Night”: trad, arr. Gordon Getty & Luna Pearl Woolf
“Mother Nature’s Son”: Lennon-McCartney, arr. David Sanford
“O Waly Waly”: trad, arr. Luna Pearl Woolf
“Je porte ma lanterne jolie”: trad, arr. Lewis Spratlan
“Danny Boy”: trad, arr. Jake Heggie, orch. Luna Pearl Woolf
“The Adventurer”: Gordon Getty, arr. Luna Pearl Woolf
“Fourteen Angels”: Engelbert Humperdinck, orch. Lewis Spratlan
“Unter Beymer”: Alexander Olshanetsky, arr. Lewis Spratlan
“Russian Lullaby”: Irving Berlin, arr. Lewis Spratlan
“Ho Ho Watanay”: trad, arr. Luna Pearl Woolf
“Sleep, Baby Sleep”: trad, arr. Luna Pearl Woolf
“Tiefer und tiefer”: Gordon Getty, orch. Luna Pearl Woolf
Tickets: $12, $18
For tickets visit, the Carnegie Hall box office (57th Street at Seventh Avenue) or call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800.
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To request a review copy of the Angel Heart music storybook CD, simply reply to this e-mail.
Download Angel Heart artwork and photos of the collaborators here.
© 21C Media Group, October 2013 













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