Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello

September 10, 2021

On September 10, 2021, composer Paola Prestini and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler will release 'Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello,' an album, film, and immersive video installation that combines spoken word, movement, music, and image to explore the intersection of mind, body, and nature.

Paola Prestini will release Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello, an album, film, and immersive video installation that combines spoken word, movement, music, and imageto explore the intersection of mind, body, and nature, in collaboration with her husband, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler. The project takes its title from the twelve houses of the zodiac as facets of the self, drawing inspiration from explorations of the subconscious including the writings of Anaïs Nin (read by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings), Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Natasha Trethewey. Additional musicians include Tanya Tagaq, Nels Cline, and others.The album will be released digitally on National Sawdust Tracks on September 10, with a vinyl record release to follow.

The album, produced and recorded by Grammy-winning producer Adam Abeshouse, paints a broad sonic palette, with Side A featuring solo cello works by Prestini performed by her husband, former Kronos Quartet member Jeffrey Zeigler—the couple’s first solo album collaboration. The music is inspired by and interspersed with excerpts of poetry by Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, Natasha Trethewey and Anaïs Nin, read by Shaughnessy and Trethewey themselves, as well as Maria Popova and Prestini. Poetry interludes are underscored by brief sections of an instrumental soundscape called We Breathe Again, originally composed by Prestini as the score for an acclaimed 2017 documentary of the same title, which explores intergenerational trauma in Alaska Native communities. The piece, which appears in its entirety on Side B of the album, features Zeigler alongside Prestini’s ‘musical family’ of guest artists Tanya Tagaq (who also composed the score's vocals), Nels Cline, David Cossin, and Cornelius Dufallo, as well as Prestini herself.

"Houses of Zodiac represents a culmination of years of collaboration, and a family of sound bound by friendship, collaboration, and poetic imagery. Each solo cello work spans my career and is performed by my fiercest interpreter and husband, Jeffrey Zeigler. From my days at Juilliard with Océano, to more recent work like Eight Takes, each work is preceded by an interlude and the poetry read by its author. The work as a whole is imbued with my greatest passions: poetry, movement, collaboration and deep muse-like bonds with the musicians featured, and for this reason, I call it our “family album.”" -Paola Prestini

SIDE A: HOUSES OF ZODIAC

1. Interlude I | Paola Prestini reads Pablo Neruda’s Océano

2. Océano 

3. Interlude II | Brenda Shaughnessy reads her poem Eight Takes

4. Eight Takes 

5. Interlude III | Natasha Tretheway reads her poem, Bellocq’s Ophelia

6. Ophelia 

7. Interlude IV | Maria Popova reads an excerpt from House of Incest by Anais Nin 

8. Houses of Zodiac 


SIDE B: WE BREATHE AGAIN

Film score composed by Paola Prestini with vocals composed by Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq appears courtesy of Six Shooter Records

In a landscape as dramatic as its stories, We Breathe Again is a 30’ film score that intimately explores the lives of four Alaska Native people, each confronting the impacts of intergenerational trauma and suicide. Reflected in the northern lights and the city streetlights, from the ice roads to the asphalt, the characters battle for personal healing, hoping to break a new trail for their families and their communities to follow. For PBS America Reframed 2018. By Marsh Chamberlain, and produced by Evon Peter. Scored for Tanya Tagaq, Nels Cline, Cornelius Dufallo, David Cossin, and Jeffrey Zeigler, the score by Prestini reflects the resilience and hope and power of the stories through music interpreted and improvised on by some of the true artistic masters of our time.


Album info

Release date:
September 10, 2021
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September 10, 2021

Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello

September 10, 2021

Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello

On September 10, 2021, composer Paola Prestini and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler will release 'Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello,' an album, film, and immersive video installation that combines spoken word, movement, music, and image to explore the intersection of mind, body, and nature.

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