David Sanford

Suolo (2020)

PRIMAVERA I the wind

from the composer

Suolo for solo cello was commissioned by Matt Haimovitz and Jeffrianne Young as one of the eighty-plus works that comprise the Primavera Project, solo cello works which are all inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s well-known painting Primavera from 1480, and Charline von Heyl’s very recent reimagining of the same work. The literal Italian translation of suolo is “soil”, and the piece is meant to capture the potency of the extraordinarily fertile earth beneath the feet of the mythological figures, which has produced some five-hundred identifiable plant species and flowers [Elena Capretti, Botticelli (2002) p. 49] and may be intrinsically connected with the characters Chloris and Flora as well (the second and third figures from the right). The piece also attempts to “break the fourth wall” by following Flora’s gaze at the viewer, and beyond to the Madonna and Child painting hanging on the opposite wall (of the Botticelli’s former space in the Uffizi Gallery). 


Director of the contemporary big band the Pittsburgh Collective, composer David Sanford received degrees in theory and composition from the University of Northern Colorado, New England Conservatory and Princeton University. His works have been performed by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under Marin Alsop, the Berkeley Symphony under Kent Nagano, the Detroit Symphony under Leslie Dunner, the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, Dinosaur Annex, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Chicago Symphony Chamber Players, and he has received commissions from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, the Da Capo Chamber Players and Castle of our Skins among others. His honors include the Rome Prize and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Radcliffe Institute. He is currently Elizabeth T. Kennan Professor of Music at Mount Holyoke College.