Pacific Symphony violist John Acevedo joined forces with singer Christina Linhardt on a video project that evokes the profoundly deep emotions we are all experiencing during the pandemic. Linhardt performed a deeply heartfelt recitation of her original poetry to Acevedo’s free improvisation on Étude No. 4 for solo flute by Astor Piazzolla, the master of nuevo tango. Together they have created a poignant elegy worthy of deep introspection.
Acevedo’s soulful playing or the Piazzolla étude inspired Linhardt to write the poem “The Spirit Solitude.” The two have a long history of collaboration, having first worked together in concert at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles in 2008: Linhardt curated and sang in the program titled “Fairies, Ghosts and Witches in German Literature and Music,” sponsored by USC’s Max Kade Institute.
She comments on the current video project: “John had been particularly engaged in the Piazzolla piece as we were in heavy shutdown, and the piece seemed to evoke the spirit of this present time: the isolation, the despair, the solitude. And yet, as with all dark periods, a glimmer of hope and light.
“I had just been released from the hospital after major surgery when John sent me the piece,” she continued. “Within minutes, I penned the poem, as it just seemed to flow out of his playing the piece. The more painstaking part came as we fit the words to the music. John is a virtuoso and a perfectionist in the best sense of the term, so it was a bit like open-heart surgery. “
Linhardt describes the video as “the final result of our labor of love.”
Watch and listen to “The Spirit Solitude” here: