Video Premiere: Lindsay Kesselman and Wild Up Perform “Swept Up Whole” (Cerrone)

Today’s mind-bending Four/Ten Media video premiere features Lindsay Kesselman and Wild Up performing Christopher Cerrone‘s “Swept Up Whole” from The Pieces That Fall to Earth, the eponymous song cycle on Cerrone’s upcoming New Amsterdam Records release. Make sure you check out the behind the scenes image below to learn how this video was made!

In addition to The Pieces that Fall to Earth, the album includes The Naomi Songs sung by vocalist Theo Bleckmann and The Branch Will Not Break for a chorus of eight singers.

Here’s what Christopher had to say about today’s video premiere:

Based on poetry of Kay Ryan, the seven songs of The Pieces That Fall to Earth form a kind of monodrama, where the work becomes more and more personal as the piece proceeds. The first three songs all are in the third person, projecting an emotional distance. In the fourth song, the second person appears—”You aren’t swept up whole.” In the sixth song, “Insult,” the song approaches the first person in the plural: “We need action to remind us.” Finally, in the last song, “The Woman Who Wrote Too Much,” “I” appears.

In “Swept Up Whole,” the narrator sings “You aren’t / swept up whole, / however it / feels. You’re / atomized. The wind / passes. You / recongeal. It’s a surprise.” This film, conceived of by Evan Chapman and Kevin Eikenberg of Four/Ten Media, takes this poem and reimagines its themes visually and chronologically. I was fortunate to have Lindsay Kesselman as my collaborator on this project–not only for her luminous singing on the record, but for her unique feat of virtuosity in this video.

The Pieces that Fall to Earth is out on New Amsterdam Records this Friday, July 26th, but you can pre-order the album here.

So what’s the secret behind the video?

Lindsay Kesselman learned how to sing the piece backward. The filmmakers dropped the feathers, then reversed the footage!

Behind the scenes shooting Christopher Cerrone's "Swept Up Whole"

Behind the scenes shooting Christopher Cerrone’s “Swept Up Whole”

About Christopher Cerrone

Christopher Cerrone (b. 1984) is internationally acclaimed for compositions characterized by a subtle handling of timbre and resonance, a deep literary fluency, and a flair for multimedia collaborations. In the 2018–19 season, Cerrone wrote The Insects Became Magnetic, an orchestral work with electronics for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Roderick Cox. Other recent commissions include Why Was I Born Between Mirrors?, a new sextet co-commissioned by Latitude 49, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Sentieri selvaggi; and a new concerto for Third Coast Percussion, Meander Spiral, Explode, co-commissioned by the Civic Orchestra of the Chicago Symphony and the Britt Festival. Excerpts from his opera in progress, In a Grove (libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann), were heard at the Morgan Library in New York in March 2019. He is currently at work on a new piano concerto commissioned by Shai Wosner, premiering in the 2019/20 season.

Cerrone’s opera, Invisible Cities, based on Italo Calvino’s landmark novel, was praised by the Los Angeles Times as “A delicate and beautiful opera…[which] could be, and should be, done anywhere.” Invisible Cities brought Cerrone widespread recognition as a Finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music. It received its fully-staged world premiere in a wildly popular production staged by The Industry, directed by Yuval Sharon, in Los Angeles’ Union Station. Other recent highlights include Breaks and Breaks, an acclaimed violin concerto for Jennifer Koh and the Detroit Symphony, led by Peter Oundjian; a Miller Theatre Composer Portrait performed by Third Coast Percussion; and Will There Be Singing, premiered by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

About Lindsay Kesselman

Hailed by Fanfare magazine as an “artist of growing reputation for her artistry and intelligence…with a voice of goddess-like splendor” Lindsay Kesselman is a soprano who passionately advocates for contemporary music, actively commissioning and collaborating with a diverse array of composers to create unique, groundbreaking, and dramatically-inspired works for the voice.

Recent and upcoming highlights include a leading role in a new opera by Chris Cerrone, a world premiere performance at the national CBDNA convention in 2019 (John Mackey), a world premiere with the UNCG Wind Symphony in 2019 (D.J. Sparr), Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra, the John Corigliano 80th birthday celebration at National Sawdust (2018), Quixote (Amy Beth Kirsten and Mark DeChiazza) with Peak Performances at Montclair State University (2017), the release of Antique Violences on Blue Griffin in 2017 featuring Songs from the End of the World (John Mackey), a leading role in Louis Andriessen’s opera Theatre of the World with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Dutch National Opera (live recording released on Nonesuch Records, 2017), and an international tour of Einstein on the Beach with the Philip Glass Ensemble (2012-2015). This production won the prestigious Laurence Olivier award for Best New Opera Production in 2013. Kesselman has been the resident soprano of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble for 8 seasons, and in that capacity has performed music by Louis Andriessen, David Biedenbender, Chris Cerrone, John Corigliano, Amy Beth Kirsten, Rufus Reid, Mathew Rosenblum, Joseph Schwantner, D.J. Sparr, David Stock, and Dan Visconti, among others.

About Wild Up

Wild Up is a collective of artists who work together at the vanguard of classical music. Wild Up began in 2010 as the self-funded, grassroots project of Artistic Director Christopher Rountree. Called “…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times, Wild Up has been lauded as one of classical music’s most exciting groups by virtually every significant institution and critic within earshot. In the past season, Wild Up premiered new pieces by Julianna Barwick, Andrew Greenwald, Ted Hearne, William Brittelle with Zola Jesus, Ragnar Kjartansson, among others.

The group has accompanied Björk at Goldenvoice’s FYF Fest; premiered David Lang and Mark Dion’s anatomy theater at LA Opera; played the scores to Under the Skin by Mica Levi and Punch Drunk Love by Jon Brion at the Regent Theater and Ace Hotel; premiered a new opera of Julia Holter’s at National Sawdust; premiered a new work of avant-pop icon Scott Walker at Walt Disney Concert Hall; performed a portrait concert of Julius Eastman at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.; and played a noise fanfare for the groundbreaking of Frank Gehry’s new building on Grand Avenue and First Street in downtown L.A. Wild Up has been lavished with praise by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles TimesThe New Yorker, public radio’s Performance Today and many other publications and critics. Wild Up is working on future projects with Esperanza Spalding and Wayne Shorter; with director Annie Saunders, and with composers Emma O’Halloran and Timo Andres.