Paul Moravec

Photo Credit: Joanna Eldredge

Your Own Shadow (2022)

PRIMAVERA IV the heart

from the composer

In Charline von Heyl’s re-imagining of Botticelli’s allegorical painting, I am struck by the phrase “your own shadow’ superimposed on the abstractions of the figures of Zephyr and Chloris.  The “shadow” motif seems to suggest several interesting associations, especially as Chloris is in the process of overlapping and morphing into the figure of Flora, standing to the left of her. Is Chloris a “shadow” of Flora? Is Zephyr a “shadow” of Chloris? Is von Heyl’s entire painting a “shadow” of Botticelli’s original? In my work for cello solo, the opening three-note motive — D-C-A—  serves as the basis for a continuous series of musical re-imaginings: everything that follows is a kind “shadow” of the opening motive, in one form or another.


Paul Moravec, recipient of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Music, has composed over 200 orchestral, chamber, lyric, choral and operatic works. Frequently commissioned by notable ensembles and music institutions, Mr. Moravec’s next premiere is A Nation of Others, an oratorio about Ellis Island to a libretto by Mark Campbell for Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall.  Other recent premieres include  Sanctuary Road for North Carolina Opera and The Shining for Minnesota Opera, also to libretti by Mr. Campbell;  A New Country, with mezzo Jennifer Johnson Cano and the Bridgehampton Festival; and The Overlook Hotel Suite for American Composers Orchestra. Recent recordings include The Blizzard Voices, an oratorio on BMOP Sound,  Music, Awake! with the Bach Society Chorus, Amorisms on Delos/Naxos, Violin Concerto and Grammy-nominated  Sanctuary Road on Naxos.

A graduate of Harvard and Columbia universities, he holds the distinguished rank of University Professor at Adelphi University, and has served as Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton as well as Composer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome.