Sono Luminus Releases Wild at Heart – Reincarnations of Bach’s Chaconne

Sono Luminus announces the October 22, 2021 worldwide release of Wild at Heart, a new recording from violinist Pauline Kim HarrisWild at Heart is a collection of contemporary chaconnes which Harris envisions as reincarnations of Bach’s iconic Chaconne, by composers Annie Gosfield (Long Waves and Random Pulses, 2012), Elizabeth Hoffman (morsels, 2018), John King (C-H-A-C-O-N-N-E, 2013), and Yoon-Ji Lee (Shakonn, 2014). The album is the second in Harris’s Chaconne Project, following her celebrated 2019 release of Heroine, also on Sono Luminus, a reimagining of the Chaconne which included Ambient Chaconne and Deo Gratias – both co-composed by Harris and Spencer Topel.

Harris’s Chaconne Project began in 2012, when she turned to Bach’s Chaconne during a difficult time when a loved one was struggling, coping after a near death experience. Working through parts of Bach’s Chaconne on a daily basis gave Harris consolation. Between 2012 and 2018, she commissioned and premiered the works on this album, before recording them for Sono Luminus in the fall of 2018. A third installment of Harris’s Chaconne Project will include a new work by Harris plus commissions by Carlos Quebrada (Columbian), Ramin Heydarbeygi (Persian), Jessie Cox (African-Swiss) and Anaïs Maviel (Haitian-French), and will be released on a future Sono Luminus album.

Harris says of the music on Wild at Heart, “Wild at Heart is in essence a stark contrast to the first release, Heroine. All music for acoustic, solo violin, it reflects a spectrum of sounds from delicate harmonics to extended-technique driven, hardcore noise with a touch of ethnic flare – new responses to the iconic Bach Chaconne. The composers featured on this album are Yoon-Ji Lee, Elizabeth Hoffman, Annie Gosfield and John King, who each introduce a unique voice, pushing sonic expectations of the violin in unexpected ways. I really see this second album as a series of reincarnations of Bach’s Chaconne. Each composer found their own personal connection to the Chaconne, giving new life to those select elements from the original work that resonated with them. Whether it be the bass line, counterpoint, the keys of d minor and D Major, you will find a magical resemblance, evolved.”

Shakonn by Yoon-Ji Lee (2014) focuses on the internal connection between Bach, Harris, and the composer. Yoon-Ji writes, “By pulling the Chaconne to an extreme point of transformation, the fragmented music melts into the different types of energy that Pauline and I create. While the new music creates marks of the Chaconne, Pauline also leaves her own marks through her voice, which is based on the elements of her grandfather’s sijo. In doing so, the three of us inscribe our beings into this evolving music, as my composition and Pauline’s playing keep revolving around Bach’s musical materials.”

morsels by Elizabeth Hoffman (2018) creates a world out of small musical gestures. Hoffman explains, “The piece is an almost frozen world of minutiae, delicate and giving equal weight to the shaped space between the sounds. The piece’s world of small, simple gestures requires a different sort of listening than is the case with traditional phrasing.”

Long Waves and Random Pulses by Annie Gosfield (2012) is an imaginary duet for violin and jammed radio sounds, which Gosfield composed and researched at the American Academy in Berlin, where she studied archival recordings of jammed radio signals used to block transmissions during World War II. Gosfield writes, “The materials that influenced the piece include a repeated six-note figure from an Italian radio jamming device, a buzzing pitched pulse used in German interference, and a quote from J.S. Bach’s Chaconne in D minor as it could have been heard in a jammed broadcast.”

John King describes his C-H-A-C-O-N-N-E (2013), as “a reflection on the form, chaconne, using gestures and techniques which proceed from the complex to the simple; from multiplicities to simple single unison sounds.” He writes, “This is realized in multiple sequences throughout the work and requires great physical strength and conceptual insight. Pauline has mastered all this with her splendiferous interpretation.” 

Violinist Pauline Kim Harris, aka PK or Pauline Kim, is a Grammy-nominated recording artist and composer. She has appeared throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia as a soloist, collaborator, and music director. Known for her work with classical avant-punk violin duo String Noise, she has also toured extensively with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and continues to collaborate with leading new music ensembles in New York City. Harris was the first Music Director for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and has been the featured solo artist for choreographers David Parker of The Bang Group and Pam Tanowitz. Active in the experimental music scene, her work extends into interdisciplinary worlds, crossing boundaries and integrating visual art, electronics, media, film, and dance, with music. She has premiered and recorded works by Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff, John Zorn, Philip Glass, Tyondai Braxton, Catherine Lamb, Steve Reich, George Lewis, David Lang, Du Yun, and more. Harris has also recorded for Decca, Tzadik, Northern Spy, Nonesuch, New Focus Recordings, Infrequent Seams, New World Records, Chaikin Records, Unseen Worlds, and Cold Blue Music, and has been heard on PBS, BBC, NPR, WQXR, WNYC, WKCR, and WFMU.

Wild at Heart | Sono Luminus | Release date: October 22, 2021

Pauline Kim Harris
1. Shakonn (2014) by Yoon-Ji Lee [7:48]
2. morsels (2018) by Elizabeth Hoffman [6:21]
3. Long Wave and Random Pulses (2012) by Annie Gosfield [10:53]
4. C-H-A-C-O-N-N-E (2013) by John King [14:56]

Total time: 40:02