JUNO Award Nomination for AKOKA: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time

January 27, 2015
Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time

CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO OR CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

Blanc / Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà / Analekta*Select

Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time / David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, Socalled, Jonathan Crow & Geoffrey Burleson / Oxingale*S.R.I.

Bartok: Chamber Works for Violin Vol. 3 / James Ehnes / Chandos*Naxos

Prokofiev: Sonates & Mélodies / Jonathan Crow & Paul Stewart /ATMA*Naxos

Ysaÿe Sonatas for Solo Violin / Karl Stobbe / Avie

 

Read the full list of nominees at: The Juno Awards

CBC Music: First Play: Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O’Riley; Beethoven, Period.

January 26, 2015

Listen here

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 4.27.51 PM

In 2011, a pair of musical iconoclasts brought us Shuffle.Play.Listen, a deliberately scattershot collection of folk, movie music, 20th-century chamber music and indie rock — all performed on cello and piano.

For their second recorded collaboration, that pair — cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley — has run as far as possible in the opposite direction. On this new disc, the duo has returned to the roots of classical performance. Haimovitz and O’Riley play the first movement of a piece, then they play the second, and if applicable they play the third. Then, they move on to the next piece. No shuffling. No new arrangements. No indie rock.

And the repertoire? Beethoven. As standard as you can possibly get. One gets the feeling that Haimovitz and O’Riley are making a statement here. Perhaps Haimovitz’s liner notes might provide us with a clue: “To this day, two hundred years after the fact, these late sonatas sound and feel like modern music.” No gimmicks required.

And yet, there’s still novelty here. Haimovitz and O’Riley have chosen to present this music on period instruments, thus the album’s title:Beethoven, Period. By now, we’re used to hearing baroque and Renaissance music on the instruments of those periods, but hearing Beethoven’s chamber music performed on a fortepiano from 1823 and a cello from 1710 is a fascinating experience.

So, here for you to gorge on are Beethoven’s complete cello sonatas and variations, beautifully played as they were originally intended. Period.

Tracklist

Disc 1

Cello Sonata No. 1 in F major
1. Adagio sostenuto
2. Allegro
3. Rondo. Allegro vivace

4. 12 Variations on ‘See the Conquering hero comes’ from Handel’sJudas Maccabaeus

Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor
5. Adagio sostenuto e espressivo
6. Allegro molto più tosto presto
7. Rondo. Allegro

8. 12 Variations on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’ from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte

Disc 2

Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major
1. Allegro ma non tanto
2. Scherzo. Allegro molto
3. Adagio cantabile
4. Allegro vivace

5. 7 Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte

Cello Sonata No. 4 in C major
6. Andante
7. Allegro vivace
8. Adagio. Tempo d’Andante
9. Allegro vivace

Cello Sonata No. 5 in D major
10. Allegro con brio
11. Adagio con molto sentimento d’affetto
12. Allegro fugato

Pre-order Beethoven, Period. on iTunes.

By: Matthew Parsons

Read and listen on: CBC Music

 

Audiophile: RECORD NEWS: PENTATONE Oxingale Series – BEETHOVEN, Period.Spesial

January 12, 2015

PENTATONE has initiated a cooperation with the American record company Oxingale Records. Now they launch the debut work of their collaboration, which has subcategory Oxingale Series.

The release BEETHOVEN, Period is the first release in a seried where PENTATONE cooperate with Oxingale Records. Here the Grammy nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz and the pianist Christopher O’Riley have recorded Beethoven sonatas for cello and fortepiano.

It is played on historical instruments, where the Goffriller cello of Matt Haimovitz is built in Venice in 1710, while Christopher O’Riley plays on a Broadwood fortepiano from 1823.

 

There are five sonatas on this double SACD from PENTATONE, with opus numbers. 5 No.1 & 2, 69, and 102 No.1 & 2. An eavesdrop reveals a soft but vivid performance rendered with good sound at 16bits / 44.1kHz.

We hope to come back with a review of the multi-channel reproduction of this SACD from PENTATONE.

 

 

Read more at PENTATONE

Read more at Oxingale Records


Press release from PENTATONE

Baarn, The Netherlands, 12 January 2015BEETHOVEN, Period. is the debut release on thePENTATONE Oxingale Series.Oxingale Records, the trailblazing artists’ label founded in 2000 by Matt Haimovitzand composer Luna Pearl Woolf, has joined forces with the Netherlands-based label PENTATONE, renowned for its discerning artistic quality and superior sound standards. The international release of BEETHOVEN, Period. will be followed by new albums and reissues from Haimovitz, Woolf, and their musical collaborators – published as Super Audio CD and as high quality downloads – on the newPENTATONE Oxingale Series.

 

“15 years ago, Luna and I founded Oxingale to pave a way for us to share music that we are passionate about, with an audience that we believed was seeking meaning and musical adventure,” says Matt Haimovitz, continuing, “For us, classical music is a living, breathing art form. We started Oxingale to bring to life what has been in our minds and hearts, whether by composers working 300 years ago, newly inked works, or improvisations. The invitation to collaborate with PENTATONE is an affirmation. With our shared sense of artistic and sonic values, we look forward to bringing our vision and energy to a label which has shown an optimistic and uncompromising attitude in its contributions to culture and the future of classical music.”

“There was never any doubt for PENTATONE to join forces with OXINGALE Records,” says PENTATONE’s managing director, Dirk Jan Vink. “We believe the works of Oxingale artists bring a fantastic addition to our catalogue. With PENTATONE’s warm, dynamic and detailed sound capturing the superb works and performances of Oxingale’s artists, we look forward to bringing you a range of prestigious work in prime quality.”

The new collaboration launches on February 1, 2015 with the release of BEETHOVEN, Period., the complete collection of sonatas and variations for pianoforte and violoncello recorded on period instruments by Grammy-nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley. Following later in the year are two more releases: Shuffle. Play. Listen, the  groundbreaking recording, also with O’Riley, which saw Herrmann, Janacek and Stravinsky come together with Radiohead, the Cocteau Twins and John McLaughlin; and an all-Schubert album featuring the Arpeggione Sonata and the Cello Quintet. Also forthcoming is a 3-CD box set of Haimovitz’s solo cello recordings from the last 15 years, including 20 world premiere recordings and two newly released tracks: Orbit, by Philip Glass and a new arrangement of the Beatles’ Helter Skelter for solo cello by Woolf.

Grammy-nominated Matt Haimovitzis acclaimed for both his tremendous artistry and as a musical visionary – pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, championing new music and initiating groundbreaking collaborations, all while mentoring an award-winning studio of young cellists at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal. Mr. Haimovitz made his debut at the age of 13, as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, and at 17 he made his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Haimovitz’s recording career encompasses more than 20 years of award-winning work on Deutsche Grammophon and his own Oxingale Records. In 2000, he made waves with his Bach “Listening-Room” Tour, for which Haimovitz took Bach’s beloved cello suites out of the concert hall and into clubs. Haimovitz’s honors include the Concert Music Award from ASCAP, the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Grand Prix du Disque, and the Diapason d’Or.

Acclaimed for his engaging and deeply committed performances, pianist Christopher O’Rileyis known to millions as the host of NPR’s From the Top, now in its fifteenth year on air. A guest soloist with virtually all of the major American orchestras, O’Riley has also performed recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. O’Riley strives to introduce new audiences to classical music with an almost missionary zeal by performing piano arrangements of music by Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana alongside traditional classical repertoire. A prolific recording artist, O’Riley has recorded for Sony Classical, Oxingale Records, RCA Red Seal, Decca, and Harmonia Mundi. He has received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and an equally coveted four-star review from Rolling Stone magazine.

Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley, two fearless musicians who have bonded over common musical passions of wide range and scope, reunite forBEETHOVEN, Period., an illuminating voyage back to the birth of the cello/piano genre with Beethoven’s  Sonatas for Pianoforte and Cello. Matt Haimovitz, praised as a musical visionary in pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, and O’Riley, acclaimed for his engaging and deeply committed performances and known to millions as the host of NPR’s From the Top, turn back the clock to record for the first time on period instruments – Haimovitz’s Venetian Matteo Gofriller cello of 1710 set up with gut strings and an early 19th century tailpiece, and O’Riley with an 1823 original Broadwood fortepiano.

The new recording on two SACDs is available internationally on February 1, 2015 on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series.

 

By: 

Read at: Audiophile 

The Examiner: Haimovitz and O’Riley to tour with historically-informed Beethoven performances

January 5, 2015
Cover of the recording being discussed

Next month cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley will release their next duo album. Following up on their two-CD album Shuffle.Play.Listen, released by Oxingale Records in September of 2011, their new album will be “something completely different.” Its title isBEETHOVEN, Period. (including both punctuation marks); and it is another two-CD set. The Oxingale brand has been taken over by PentaTone classics, and the new album will be released on the new PENTATONE Oxingale Series label. The new recording is currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com.

The album title is to be read with the connotation that it presents recordings of historically-informed compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven for cello and piano performed on period instruments. In fact, two CDs are sufficient to hold all eight of Beethoven’s pieces for “pianoforte and violoncello” (as they are listed in the in the index of the Princeton University Press edition of Alexander Wheelock Thayer’s biography of the composer), five sonatas and three sets of variations. For the recordings Haimovitz played a 1710 cello made by the Venetian Matteo Gofriller with gut strings and an early nineteenth-century tailpiece; and O’Riley accompanied him on a Broadwood fortepiano made in 1823.

This release will be marked by an eight-city North American tour, during which O’Riley will sample a variety of fortepianos along the way (while Haimovitz will travel with his cello). These Beethoven performances should be a far cry from the Shuffle.Play.Listen repertoire, which interleaved major works from the twentieth-century repertoire with Bernard Herrmann’s suite of music he composed for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo on one CD and sampled the rock repertoire of groups such as Arcade Fire and Radiohead on the other. However, while at Harvard University Haimovitz wrote his senior thesis on the Beethoven sonatas; so these are likely to be highly informed interpretations, supplemented with extensive liner notes written by Haimovitz. The tour schedule will be as follows:

  • Thursday, January 29, 7:30 p.m., Northridge, California: Valley Performing Arts Center
  • Saturday, January 31, 8 p.m., Glendora, California: Haugh Performing Arts Center
  • Monday, February 2, 8 p.m., Seattle, Washington: Tractor Tavern
  • Tuesday, February 3, 7 p.m., Portland, Oregon: Millennium Records
  • Wednesday, February 4, 7:30 p.m., Portland, Oregon: live streaming of a house concert
  • Thursday, February 5, 9 p.m., Eugene, Oregon: Sam Bonds
  • Tuesday, February 10, 8 p.m., San Francisco, California: San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • Wednesday, March 11, 7:30 p.m., Montreal, Quebec: Bourgie Concert Hall
  • Saturday, April 11, noon, New York, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Oxingale Records and Pentatone Join Forces

December 16, 2014

OXINGALE RECORDS, the trailblazing artists’ label founded in 2000 by cellist Matt Haimovitz and composer Luna Pearl Woolf, is excited to announce that it is joining forces with PENTATONE, the classical music label renowned for its discerning artistic quality and superior audiophile technology. Beginning in 2015, new albums and reissues from Haimovitz and his musical collaborators will be available internationally – in SACD 5.1 surround sound and as high definition downloads – from the Amsterdam-based label under the PENTATONE OXINGALE series.

“15 years ago, Luna and I founded Oxingale to pave a way for us to share music that we are passionate about, with an audience that we believed was seeking meaning and musical adventure,” says Matt Haimovitz, continuing, “For us, classical music is a living, breathing art form. We started Oxingale to bring to life what has been in our minds and hearts, whether by composers working 300 years ago, newly inked works, or improvisations. The invitation to collaborate with PENTATONE is an affirmation. With our shared sense of artistic and sonic values, we look forward to bringing our vision and energy to a label which has shown an optimistic and uncompromising attitude in its contributions to culture and the future of classical music.”

“There was never any doubt for PENTATONE to join forces with OXINGALE Records,” says PENTATONE’s managing director, Dirk Jan Vink. “We believe the works of Oxingale artists bring a fantastic addition to our catalogue. With PENTATONE’s warm, dynamic and detailed sound capturing the superb works and performances of Oxingale’s artists, we look forward to bringing you a range of prestigious work in prime quality.”

The new collaboration launches on February 1, 2015 with the release of BEETHOVEN, Period., the complete collection of sonatas and variations for pianoforte and violoncello recorded on period instruments by Grammy-nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley. Following later in the year are two more releases: Shuffle. Play. Listen, a groundbreaking recording, also with O’Riley, which saw Herrmann, Janacek and Stravinsky come together with Radiohead, the Cocteau Twins and John McLaughlin; and an all-Schubert album featuring the Arpeggione Sonata and the Cello Quintet. Also forthcoming is a 3-CD box set of Haimovitz’s solo cello recordings from the last 15 years, including 20 world premiere recordings and two newly released tracks: Orbit, by Philip Glass and a new arrangement of the Beatles’ Helter Skelter for solo cello by Woolf.

Founded in the year 2000, the Grammy Award-winning Oxingale Records is as committed to revelatory interpretations of the canonic repertoire as it is to riveting performances of works by recent and living composers. Under the new collaboration, Oxingale will continue to oversee its own A&R direction, while benefiting from the global distribution and marketing offered by PENTATONE.

Launched in 2010, Oxingale Music is the publishing arm of the label. Oxingale Music publishes the work of Luna Pearl Woolf plus a range of works by composers such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Lewis Spratlan and Rome Prize-winner David Sanford. The Oxingale Music catalog includes a substantial library of music written for and premiered by Matt Haimovitz, most of which are recorded on Oxingale and will be released over time as part of the PENTATONE Oxingale Series.

This year, Oxingale Music launched a semi-annual composition competition aimed at expanding and enriching the repertoire for cello in unusual combinations and ensembles. Over 40 composers from 18 countries entered the 2014 competition, the winners of which will have their works premiered in February 2015.

 

Slipped Disc: Ebola and black holes: My night in Atlanta

October 21, 2014

The cellist Matt Haimovitz has sent us his experiences playing with the locked-out musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. read and reflect. 

Hearing that I would be in town for a residency at Emory University, the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony reached out to me with the idea of an impromptu concert together. I have never before taken sides in a labor dispute, but my gut said, “Yes! In tumultuous times we need music more then ever, for the musicians, for the community, for music’s sake.”

Before confirming my participation, I polled some music industry folks whose expertise and opinions I respect. Nearly across the board I received stern warnings against participating in such a concert and “appearing to take sides” in the dispute. I was told “if you do this, you will never again be hired by a major symphony orchestra.”

I have never made life or artistic decisions based on that kind of consideration, so the warnings sounded hollow to me. … I do not profess to have any knowledge of the orchestra’s budget or deficit. Clearly there are issues to work out with the model. Will any symphony orchestra look the same 20 years from now? I doubt it, and I hope not. But I am a musician who is concerned about the priority and state of culture in our society today. If that debate were taking place, in good faith, with the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony, I would not have played. But it is not, and the decision to join them and make music was an easy one.”

I told my fellow musicians before we performed J.S. Bach, Osvaldo Golijov, David Sanford, Billy Strayhorn, Richard Prior, and Joseph Haydn, and I say it here: I am with you. Stand strong and lead us into the future as a role model for orchestras around the country. Stand up for the importance and relevance of music and culture in a time filled with the deafening noise of fear and mediocrity. I heard your voices and so did the audience on this night.

The evening following the performance with the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony, I was rehearsing a new concerto by composer/conductor Richard Prior at Emory University with the Emory Symphony Orchestra. Meters away, Amber Vinson, nurse-turned-Ebola-patient from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was being escorted to the university hospital, by a surreal display of space-age sterility. On stage were young college faces concentrating on the shifting meters and new melodies of a freshly inked cello concerto, as just outside, a nurse was wrapped up in a cocoon, infected by a plague that could potentially kill millions. The proximity of a natural plague put everything that I had experienced the night before in a whole new light.

We need music more then ever to appeal to the better side of our human nature. We need music to replace fear with hope, silence with harmony, to lift our spirits, to open our minds and hearts to the world around us. Music of all the art forms is where we can hear so many voices simultaneously come together as one whole. The fight being fought by the Atlanta Symphony is not only about the lives and livelihood of 100-or-so musicians. It is about the struggle to lift our culture out of the black hole of bottom lines. This should not be a fight between an accountant and a musician, or a corporation and orchestra. It should be a discussion about what the symphony orchestra can be as an integral part of the community’s consciousness. I am with you Atlanta Symphony.

By: Matt Haimovitz

Read at: Slipped Disc

Oxingale Music Announces New Composition Competition for Cello and Voice

May 29, 2014

Oxingale Music, publisher of a range of contemporary sheet music from award-winning composers, announces the first in a series of composition competitions aimed at building the repertoire for cello and unusual ensembles. The nucleus of Oxingale Music is a catalogue of works written for, premiered by, and recorded by Grammy-nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz.

For the 2014 Composition Competition Oxingale Music and Matt Haimovitz join UK vocal trio Voice in inviting composers of all ages and nationalities to submit a work for cello and three voices, using text from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 8, 30, or 60. Works should be under ten minutes in duration. There is no fee to submit. For additional details, please see below.

Prizes:

– The winning composition will be premiered by Matt Haimovitz and Voice in February, 2015 in New York State with the possibility of further performances in 2016.
– Oxingale Music will provide the composer a stipend of up to $500 towards travel and accommodation to attend rehearsals and the concert.
– The composer will be provided an archive recording of the performance, if available.
– The winning composition will be considered for publication on Oxingale Music.
Guidelines:

– Submission deadline: October 15, 2014
– Composers of any age or nationality may submit one original work.
– Duration: up to 10 minutes
– Text must be taken from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 8, 30, or 60. Sonnets may be used in whole or in part, individually or combined, at the composer’s discretion.
– Work must be for acoustic cello and un-amplified voices. (No electronics please)
– Works must be submitted electronically via dropbox or other file-transfer method. Please see required submission package contents below. Please do not submit materials via email or postal mail.
Vocal ranges:

Victoria = A3 to C6. Happy to sing in a folky chest register up to D5.
Emily = G3 to B6.
Clemmie = E3 to G6. She is most comfortable A3 to E6.
Please visit Voice’s website where you can listen to recordings and get an idea of the three singers’ blend on different tracks. If you have specific questions regarding the vocalists, please direct your inquiries to Victoria at voicetrio@gmail.com.
Submission package must include:

– Complete submission form (below)
– PDF of full score
– XML or .sib file of full score
– Biography/CV of composer
– Photo of composer
For more information on the artists and Oxingale Music please visit:

http://www.matthaimovitz.com
http://www.voicetrio.co.uk
http://www.oxingalemusic.com
The fine print:

– The competition organizers reserve the right not to select a winner.
– By submitting a work to this competition you certify that the composition is original and does not rely on the copyrighted material of any other person.
– Payment of stipend will be made in the form of reimbursement of expenses. Documentation of expenses must be received no later than 30 days after the premiere.
– Archive recording may be used for promotional purposes only. Any commercial use or public broadcast must be approved separately.
– By submitting a work to this competition you certify that there is no legal impediment to Oxingale Music acting as publisher for this work. If any conflict exists, please disclose it on the submission form. Oxingale Music reserves the right not to publish the winning composition.

General inquiries can be sent to info@oxingale.com Please do not email submissions.

Application

 

The New York Times: Classical Playlist: Beethoven, Shostakovich, Tigran Mansurian and More

May 15, 2014

Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time

‘AKOKA: REFRAMING OLIVIER MESSIAEN’S QUARTET FOR THE END OF TIME’
David Krakauer, clarinetist; Matt Haimovitz, cellist; Jonathan Crow, violinist; Geoffrey Burleson, pianist; Socalled, electronics
(Oxingale)
This brilliantly inventive recording pays tribute to Henri Akoka, the Algerian-born clarinetist who egged on Messiaen to compose when both were prisoners of war in a German camp during World War II. Framing a vivid rendition of the “Quartet for the End of Time” are two musical flights of fancy, an improvisation by the extraordinary clarinetist David Krakauer, and an electronic remix of the quartet by Socalled. (Fonseca-Wollheim)

Read at: The New York Times

JohnMontanari.com: Album du jour: David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, et al., “Akoka”

May 11, 2014
Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time

On the cold and rainy night of January 15, 1941, in the unheated Barrack 27 of Stalag VIIIA in Görlitz, Germany, an audience of some 400 prisoners-of-war and guards listened in rapt silence as four musicians, performing on ramshackle instruments, gave the first performance of one of the great chamber works of the 20th century.  While it is doubtful that even the most devoted practitioner of historically-informed performance would want to recreate the premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quatuor pour le fin du temps” (“Quartet for the End of Time”), this amazing backstory adds even further resonance to a work of stunning originality, power and spirit.  (For the full story, Rebecca Rischin’s “For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet” is highly recommended.)

What’s that?  You’ve never heard Messiaen’s Quartet?  Well then, you’re in for an extraordinary musical experience, one which will grow with each hearing.  In eight movements, variously scored for one, two, three or all four instruments, Messiaen combines his favorite preoccupations, such as birdsong, rhythmic and melodic symmetry, synesthesia (e.g., musical rainbows) and fervent, sentimental Catholicism into perhaps this incredibly original composer’s most accessible large-scale work.  Not for nothing has the Quartet appealed over the years to audiences steeped in psychedelia, mysticism, minimalism, new age philosophy, eastern religion and just about every other alternative life- or musical style associated with adventurous youth.

On their splendid, just-released 2008 live concert recording (with violinist Jonathan Crow and pianist Geoffrey Burleson), clarinetist David Krakauer and cellist Matt Haimovitz have framed the Quartet with a works that pay tribute to the remarkable clarinetist of its premiere, an Algerian Jew named Henri Akoka.  As prologue, the four musicians collaborate on a mostly-improvised, electronically-enhanced piece (credited to Krakauer) called “Akoka,” transforming elements of the Messiaen into a Klezmer-ish lament and dance filled with clarinet smears, cello scrapes (much like those Matt Haimovitz employed in his celebrated version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Anthem”), scratchy violin off-beats and strummed piano strings.

For the epilogue, Canadian producer Socalled (Josh Dolgin) “merges live samples of the musicians with old radio broadcasts, hiphop, cantorial singing and markers of time…” into a piece called “MEANWHILE…”  Of all the album’s ten tracks, this will probably age least well, especially its rapped passages.  For the present, it’s a stimulating modern commentary on a great musical work.

But it’s the performance of the Quartet that commends and rewards most of our attention here.  Not that there aren’t excellent alternative versions in the current discography, but this one can take its place with the best of them for both individual and ensemble excellence.  To cite just a few examples:  The quiet central passage of the 2nd movement, “Vocalise, for the Angel Who Announces the End of Time” has rarely been as mesmerizing.  David Krakauer’s superb rendition of the 3rd movement clarinet solo, “Abyss of the Birds,” is filled with personality, subtly reminding us that for all its mellow mellifluousness, the clarinet was also the instrument par excellence of the red light district, the shtetl and the Roma encampment.  And Matt Haimovitz’s modulation of both tone color and vibrato in the sublime 5th movement duo, “Praise to the Eternity of Jesus” are wondrous to hear — artistry of the highest order.

Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is best experienced live — what great work isn’t?  In the meantime, and for keeps, this fine, imaginative CD is highly recommended, and will fit right into your shelf next to your Mahler, your Moby, your Moondog and your Mozart.  At least that’s where it is on my shelf.

By: John Montanari

Read at: JohnMontanari.com

The New York Times, ArtsBeat: Opera America Names Eight Grant Winners

April 2, 2014

Late last year, Opera America set out to encourage women composers to write new operas, and offered incentives, by way of a two-year grant program, underwritten by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The organization announced the first group of recipients of its Opera Grants for Female Composers on Tuesday. Eight composers, and their proposed projects, were chosen from among 112 eligible applicants. Each will receive a $12,500 grant to help develop her opera.

The winner composers (and projects) are Anna Clyne (“As Sudden Shut”); Michelle DiBucci (“Charlotte Salomon: Death and the Painter”); Laura Kaminsky (“As One”); Kristin Kuster (“Old Presque Isle”); Anne LeBaron (“Psyche & Delia”); Fang Man (“Golden Lily”); Sheila Silver (“A Thousand Splendid Suns”); and Luna Pearl Woolf (“The Pillar”).

The adjudication panel included the vocal coach Susan Ashbaker; the composers Douglas Cuomo and David T. Little; the mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer; and the librettist and composer Gene Scheer.

By: ALLAN KOZINN

Read at: The New York Times

The Examiner: Oxingale presents a stunning context for Messiaen on its latest release

Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time

Yesterday Oxingale released a new recording with a somewhat intimidating title, Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. This title definitely deserves points (and probably extra credit) for truth in advertising. It refers to Henri Akoka, a Jewish clarinetist who met Messiaen on the way to Stalag VIII-A, the prisoner-of-war camp to which Messiaen was sent when he was captured by the German army in June of 1940. While they were in transit to the camp, Messiaen worked up sketches for a clarinet solo that he showed to Akoka. Those sketches would eventually become the “Abîme des oiseaux” (abyss of birds) movement of his “Quatuor pour la fin du temps.” Once at the camp, Messiaen and Akoka met the violinist Jean le Boulaire and the cellist Étienne Pasquier. Messiaen wrote a short trio for clarinet, violin, and cello from which the full quartet eventually emerged and was first performed at the camp (“outdoors and in the rain,” as its Wikipedia page observes) on January 15, 1941 with Messiaen taking the piano part.

On this new recording the performers are Geoffrey Burleson on piano, David Krakauer on clarinet, Jonathan Crow on violin, and Matt Haimovitz on cello. It is, to say the least, one hell of an interpretation, combining connotations of highly free improvisation (as in “Abîme des oiseaux”) with the rhythmically demanding unison for the entire quartet in the “Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes” (dance of fury, for the seven trumpets), requiring the utmost precision for the required uniformity. However, in the midst of all the technical demands lies some of Messiaen’s most visceral efforts at composition. While this is probably a reflection of the composer’s deeply-felt commitment to the Catholic religion, I have previouslyconsidered the possibility that the entire composition is based on a misreading of the tenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. Thus, it is better to approach this music as a series of reflections of apocalyptic visions without worrying about whether or not those visions can be traced back to the New Testament.

In that respect this new recording establishes a context for Messiaen’s quartet that has more to do with the circumstances surrounding the original performers than with Messiaen’s personal articles of faith. It begins with “AKOKA,” which is an almost entirely improvised composition by Krakauer. This suggests (not necessarily accurately) that at least some of the passages that Messiaen composed may have been inspired by his listening to Akoka, le Boulaire, and Pasquier improvising on their respective instruments. It is thus at least remotely possible that “AKOKA” honors a significant precedent, since much of the music that Alban Berg composed for the violin part in his concerto emerged from his listening to improvisations by the violinist who commissioned the concerto, Louis Krasner.

Adventurous as “AKOKA” may be, as a prelude it is a bit modest in comparison with the postlude, entitled “MEANWHILE….” This is the work of Socalled, which is the name that composer Josh Dolgin assumes when he is working as a “beat architect.” The music (and, yes, I have no problem with calling it “music”) is a collage that mixes live samples of the four Messiaen performers with old radio broadcasts (news reports of the Nazi advances during the Second World War), hip-hop, Jewish liturgical incantation, and the steady beats of “markers of time.” Particularly impressive is when Socalled inserts an incessant club-scene beat behind that homophonic “Danse de la fureur” movement. On the one hand this mix affirms the precision with which that music was being played; but, at the same time, it refracts the apocalyptic denotations of the score through a jazzy lens, making for a provocative distortion of Messiaen’s original conception.

Haimovitz has been quoted as saying that the intention of the full program for this recording was to lift Messiaen’s quartet “out of the polite confines of a normal chamber music performance.” He and his colleagues have succeeded admirably; but it is worth noting that they are not the only ones inspired by this “mission statement.” Here in San Francisco in February of 2011, four of the musicians in Nonsemble 6 (originally formed by students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to prepare a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 21 Pierrot Lunaire) performed Messiaen’s quartet in the Red Poppy Art House surrounded by eight paintings (one for each of the quartet’s movements) by Olivia Lam. Just as Messiaen’s score amounts to a highly individual reading of New Testament scripture, so can performances of this music reflect equally individual readings through other uses of auxiliary media.

By: Stephen Smoliar

Read at: The Examiner

The Economist: Musical instruments on planes: Air with a G-string

March 12, 2014

Matt HaimovitzWHEN Matt Haimovitz (pictured), a concert-hall cellist, travels, he is accompanied by CBBG Haimovitz. That’s Cabin Baggage Haimovitz—Mr Haimovitz’s cello.  “When I was a teenager, my strategy was to sneak my cello onto the plane, smile nicely at the flight attendants and hope that they’d put it in the overhead bin,” says Mr Haimovitz. “It worked around 50% of the time, but the other times they’d tell me that I had to check it, and I couldn’t face it going in the hold, so I started paying for a seat.”

As a well-paid soloist, Mr Haimowitz is lucky that he can afford such a luxury. Others must take a risk. “Seeing your instrument going up the conveyor belt, you don’t know whether you’ll be able to play it after you arrive,” says Ray Hair, president of the American Federation of Musicians. It is a situation that legislators are trying to remedy. Last month, the European Parliament passed a bill requiring airlines to accept smaller instruments such as violins in the cabin. The bill now goes to the European Council, which represents the EU governments. Organisations such as the Musicians’ Union in Britain are backing the idea. It says the current patchwork of rules leads to confusion. Musicians can leave a country on a flight where one regulation applies to instruments, only to find the rules on the return leg are different.

Two years ago, the US Congress instructed the Department of Transportation (DoT) to write a directive requiring airlines to store instruments in overhead bins. Larger instruments weighing less than 165 lbs (75 kg) should be allowed in the plane if the owner buys an extra seat, Congress ordered. But even though the department’s deadline passed last month, the DoT hasn’t even begun writing the rules. IATA, the trade association for the world’s airlines, is relieved. It says that carriers should remain free to set their own prices and policies for onboard musical instruments.

So airbound instruments still face an unknown fate. While most airlines allow small instruments, such as violins, as part of the carry-on baggage allowance, some count it as a second piece of luggage and charge for it. Others, such as Ryanair, only allow smaller instruments in the cabin, and then only if the owner has paid for an additional seat.

On some airlines, owners of large instruments can request they be put in a heated section of the cargo hold. But even though today’s cases are sturdy, the instrument can arrive damaged. When Suzanne Bizet, a Maltese music teacher, booked a ticket to travel to Madrid for a concert, her low-cost airline informed her that she would have to buy an extra seat for her violin. Instead Ms Bizet bought a decent replacment on eBay and had it shipped to Madrid. After a particularly heavy-handed inspection by airport security staff in San Francisco, Timothy Spears, a double-bassist, decided always to travel by car instead. At a recent music competition, one participant went for a more unconventional option still: he left his cello at home, hoping that a member of the resident orchestra would lend him one. A kind player did.

Until the law speaks clearly, musical instruments and aeroplanes will remain an uneasy pairing. Airlines, desperate to cut costs wherever possible, are unlikely to go out of their way to accommodate musicians, especially those flying economy class. But musicians rely on air travel for their livelihoods. As a drummer, Mr Hair always has to put his drums in the cargo, and so far they have survived unscathed. “But it shouldn’t be down to luck,” he says.

How to identify instruments, meanwhile, remains an additional issue for legislators to address. In an age when each seat occupant requires documentation, travellers like CBBG Haimovitz—and Mr Guitar, and Mr Cello, as some musicians call their companions—pose a challenge. And while some airlines issue boarding passes to instruments, others don’t. Yet despite all the hassle, instruments on airplanes sometimes add a humane note to an often-monotonous activity. On a recent trip, a flight attendant asked Mr Haimovitz if he might like to perform a piece in the skies. To the delight of fellow passengers, he got up and played.

By: E.H.B.

Read at: The Economist

The Jewish Week: Hearing A Jewish Downbeat

February 19, 2014

Cellist Matt Haimovitz’s Shoah-tinged ‘Akoka.’

When he was 16, Israeli-born cellist Matt Haimovitz was invited to play Richard Strauss’ “Don Quixote” with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Herbert von Karajan. Berlin? Strauss, a darling of the Nazi regime? Von Karajan, who was a member of the Nazi party? But a career breakthrough of immense proportions.

He was pondering the offer when his grandfather extended another invitation.

“My grandfather took me to Yad Vashem,” he recalled in a telephone interview last week. “The experience was so powerful that I turned them down. It was a very difficult decision. It was a pinnacle on a professional level, but I couldn’t do that to my grandparents.”

Haimovitz’s career survived. He made the difficult transition from prodigy to adult professional by gradually moving away from the standard cello repertoire and expanding his horizons to take in new music and the challenges of experimentation. And he has paid back his debt to his grandparents handsomely with his new album, “Akoka,” a stunning combination of the old and the new that evokes the Shoah in an elegant way.

The centerpiece of the CD is a shatteringly beautiful performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” a deeply spiritual piece of music written while Messiaen was a prisoner in a German POW camp. The clarinetist for whom he wrote the piece was a fellow prisoner, an Algerian Jew named Henri Akoka. When a sympathetic camp guard arranged for Messiaen and the other musicians to be sent back to France, Akoka’s Jewish features led to his being kept in the POW camp. He eventually escaped, jumping from a train with his clarinet under his arm.

Haimovitz has teamed with David Krakauer and Socalled to create two pieces in response to the Messiaen, a composition by Krakauer bearing Akoka’s name, and a mash-up by Socalled that combines the Messiaen with the beat-maker’s usual witty collection of sound bites, musical samples and frisky beats. The result is compelling listening, particularly when you know the story behind the compositions.

“It’s always powerful to play the Messiaen,” Haimovitz said. “To think of the circumstances, that makes it an even more spiritual experience. It’s an extraordinary statement that under those conditions you could come up with something so beautiful and transcendent. It lifts the spirit.”

By: George Robinson
Read at: The Jewish Week

The New York Times: A Crushed Spirit, Healed by the Whispers of Angels

October 17, 2013
"Angel Heart" was conceived by Luna Pearl Woolf and  Lisa Delan.

“Angel Heart” was conceived by Luna Pearl Woolf and Lisa Delan.

“There.”

“Do you hear it?”
At the beginning, there is only the voice of Jeremy Irons. Then, the sound of strings: high, sparkling filaments of sound that dance around the narrator’s voice like dust particles catching the light.

There is a whispering of wings in the silence of the night.

They’re coming. With feathers as white as snow and faces as bright as the moonlight:

Angels.

“Angel Heart” is a tender and emotionally astute children’s story told in words and music. Last month it was released as an audiobook CD; on Monday it will be performed live at Zankel Hall with the actor Chris Noth as narrator. Continue reading

Wall Street Journal: ‘Angel Heart:’ A Fairy Tale for the Digital Age

September 19, 2013

Collaboration of Author Cornelia Funke, Composer Luna Pearl Woolf and Soprano Lisa Delan Builds on Tradition of ‘Peter and the Wolf’.

Continue reading

New York Times, Sunday Edition: Unleashing the Potential of the Strings: More Musicians Are Trying Period Instruments

August 30, 2013
The cellist Matt Haimovitz with a Bohemian cello from 1770. Photo by Stephen Woolf

The cellist Matt Haimovitz with a Bohemian cello from 1770. Photo by Stephen Woolf

PLAINFIELD, Mass. — On a recent sunny afternoon, Matt Haimovitz entered a carpentry workshop here that doubles as a music studio and gently pulled the door shut. The garden of the 19th-century farmhouse echoed with the shouts of children. But the newest family member was quietly leaning against the wall. It was darker than its sibling next to it and covered in pockmarks, but Mr. Haimovitz cupped his hand around its neck with loving pride: “This is my Beethoven cello.”

Mr. Haimovitz is one of the leading cellists of his generation and equally well known for his ardent interpretations of the classics as for boundary-pushing projects involving electronics and collaborations with unusual instruments. For 25 years, he has played a spectacular Goffriller cello made in 1710 that has a rich, golden sound. Continue reading

Strombo Tonight: MUSICAL PERFORMANCE – Matt Haimovitz & Chris O’Riley

March 23, 2012

In case you missed it, Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley perform a classical rendition of Arcade Fire’s ‘Empty Room’ from their double-album CD set, ‘Shuffle.Play.Listen.’

Continue reading

After Reading Shakespeare

After Reading Shakespeare

After Reading Shakespeare

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Works for solo cello by Ned Rorem, Paul Morevec and Lewis Spratlan.

After Reading Shakespeare features literary-themed solo cello suites by three beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning American composers. These witty and lyrical suites bring to life characters and quotations from Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Continue reading

VinylCello

VinylCello

VinylCello

Click to listen and buy from: VinylCello is an album of new cello concertos written for Matt Haimovitz and unexpected ensembles–big band, choir, DJ and live electronics–along with Haimovitz’s new arrangement of Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun for solo cello and all-cello band. On VinylCello, Haimovitz brings together the first three commissions from his ‘Buck the Concerto’ series,by composers Tod Machover, Luna Pearl Woolf, and David Sanford, with his own arrangement of Hendrix’s Machine Gun. In the hands of Haimovitz and Uccello, his all-cello band from McGill University, this war song, with its epic electric guitar solo, becomes a concerto for solo cello and an orchestra of seven cellos. Continue reading

Live from the Knitting Factory

Live at the Knitting Factory

David Sanford & the Pittsburgh Collective: Live from the Knitting Factory

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David Sanford and the Pittsburgh Collective: Live at the Knitting Factory, featuring cellist Matt Haimovitz.
In Oxingale’s tenth release, composer David Sanford leads the Pittsburgh Collective big band – five saxophones, five trumpets, five trombones, piano, electric guitar, bass, drums, and Continue reading

Après Moi, le Déluge

Après Moi, le Déluge

Après Moi, le Déluge

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September 5, 2006 – Oxingale Records releases Après Moi, le Déluge at the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The debut full length album of new music by composer Luna Pearl Woolf includes two world premiere recordings: Continue reading

Mozart the Mason

Mozart the Mason

Mozart the Mason

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Jonathan Crow, violin, Douglas McNabney, viola, Matt Haimovitz, cello
with artwork by Michael Kuch

In celebration of W. A. Mozart’s 250th anniversary year, Oxingale Records presents Mozart the Mason. Released just 3 days before the composer’s January 27th birth date, this tribute includes performances of one of Mozart’s most important chamber works, the seldom heard Divertimento for String Trio, K 563, as well as three Continue reading

Goulash!

Goulash!

Goulash!

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Celebrating Bartk’s fascination with the folk music of Transylvania, Hungary, Romania and Turkey, cellist Matt Haimovitz delves into his own Romanian/Middle Eastern ancestry to create a sonic tapestry that bridges genres, geographic distances and Continue reading

Epilogue

Epilogue

Epilogue

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Epilogue explores two strikingly different works, each written in the last months in the lives of two contemporary early Romantic composers, Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn.

Oxingale is proud to announce the collaboration of the acclaimed Miró Quartet and cellist Matt Haimovitz in a Continue reading

Anthem

Anthem

Anthem

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On September 9, 2003, Oxingale Records launched ANTHEM, cellist Matt Haimovitz’s highly charged collection of solo works by living American composers featuring his live rendition of “Anthem,” inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner,” recorded live Continue reading

Hyperstring Trilogy

Hyperstring Trilogy

Hyperstring Trilogy

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Composer Tod Machover’s ground-breaking Hyperstring Trilogy with Matt Haimovitz on hypercello, Kim Kashkashian on hyperviola, Ani Kavafian on hyperviolin, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose.

“Hyperstrings” are instruments enhanced with technology, designed “to enable the performer’s normal playing technique and interpretive skills to shape and control computer extensions to the instrument, Continue reading

The Rose Album

The Rose Album

The Rose Album

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Nominated for the INDIE Award for BEST CLASSICAL ALBUM OF 2002, Matt Haimovitz’s poetic Rose Album is a reminiscence, through musical associations, of his teacher and mentor, the legendary American cellist, Leonard Rose. Schubert’s beloved Arpeggione Sonata and romantic works by Continue reading

Lemons Descending

Lemons Descending

Lemons Descending

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In Lemons Descending, the common thread of voice and cello conjures a contemporary musical world rooted in the traditions of a millennium. Soprano Eileen Clark and cellist Matt Haimovitz perform the recital ranging from Hildegard Von Bingen to John Tavener’s “Ahkmatova Songs”, from a first recording of Luna Pearl Woolf’s “Epithalamion” to Heitor Villa-Lobos’ beloved “Bachianas Brasileirsas No. 5″ Continue reading

J. S. Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo

J. S. Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo

J. S. Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo

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In 2000, Matt Haimovitz celebrated the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s death with a live-television broadcast of the complete solo Bach cello suites at the Schwetzingen Castle in Germany. Subsequently, Haimovitz took Bach’s beloved cello suites out of the concert hall, performing them in intimate venues and music clubs across the U.S., Canada, and Continue reading

The Seattle Times: Next at the Tractor Tavern: fortepiano and cello

CONCERT PREVIEW

‘BEETHOVEN, Period’

8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2, Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave N.W., Seattle; $20 (206- 789-3599 or tractortavern.com).

When two artists title their concert “BEETHOVEN, Period,” it’s reasonable to assume that they’re referring to Beethoven as the end-all and be-all of composers. Or perhaps they’re alluding to his pivotal position as the “bridge” composer between the classical and romantic periods.

While Grammy-nominated cellist Matt Haimovitzand pianist and NPR host Christopher O’Rileywould hardly dispute Beethoven’s compositional supremacy, the title actually refers to their exploration of his sonatas and variations for piano and cello on period instruments. In advance of the release of their double-disc high-resolution recording on Pentatone, the duo arrives at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle on Monday, Feb. 2, to perform Beethoven’s music as the composer expected it to be heard.

Haimovitz’s precious Goffriller cello, which dates from 1710, 60 years before Beethoven’s birth, will be outfitted with authentic ox-gut strings, just as in Beethoven’s day. His bow, too, will be from the same era. Sonically, these changes are like night and day.

“I love the gut so much!” Haimovitz exclaimed in a conference call that included his duo partner. “Gut is so much more human to me, and it allows me so much more flexibility and range of attack and resonance. My fear with gut strings all along was that I was going to lose my voice. Quite the opposite has happened. More and more, I’m finding that the sound of gut strings is my ideal.”

That’s quite a switch for someone who wrote his graduate thesis on Beethoven at Harvard 25 years ago, and who has struggled ever since with the fact that, in Beethoven, a cello outfitted with modern metal strings does not balance well with a modern piano.

O’Riley, in turn, will play an authentic fortepiano, whose sound Beethoven also had in mind. Tuning a microtone lower than “modern pitch” will further replicate the sound of Beethoven’s era.

“There’s a whole world of color and articulation available when you’re not having to worry 80 percent of the time whether you’ll be heard or not,” he says of the period instruments’ superior blend. “If I had known 30 years ago what I know now, I wouldn’t have had to deal with the fact that the modern Steinway’s bass, as much as I love it, is at complete odds with a lot of Beethoven’s music. On the fortepiano, the bass is still penetrating, but the upper, lyric registers are much more singing.”

All of this talk may seem a little highfalutin’ for an evening in a honky-tonk bar, but Haimovitz has nothing but praise for the Tractor. At the forefront of musicians who brought classical to new audiences in nontraditional venues, he discovered the Tractor some years back when he played the Bach Cello Suites there. He’s been back several times since.

“It’s really one of my favorite alternate venues to play,” he says. “The people are really passionate about music. It’s great energy and a great, fun vibe.”

Since he no longer needs to struggle to be heard over a 9-foot concert grand, and O’Riley no longer has to hold back, their vibes, too, should be quite high. What better place to perform music that took the piano/cello combination to new heights?

“There’s a sense in these groundbreaking pieces that Beethoven is pushing the limits of what the instruments can do separately and together,” says Haimovitz. “When we play the slow movement of the last sonata, I don’t think you have to know anything about music to just close your eyes and take in such a hauntingly beautiful sound world.”

Jason Victor Serinus writes about classical music and high-end audio for publications worldwide. Reach him at jserinus@gmail.com.

By Jason Victor Serinus

Read at: The Seattle Times

LA Daily News: Upcoming classical music events in the Los Angeles area

January 26, 2015

“Crossover” has become one of the hot buzzwords of the music scene in recent years as classical musicians seek to broaden their horizons by moving into non-classical fare. Two of the foremost exponents of this phenomenon, pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz, will showcase this concept on Thursday in CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center.

Rather than performing before an audience of up to 1,700 in VPAC’s Grand Hall or even in the 500-seat Plaza del Sol, O’Riley and Haimovitz will play to 200 patrons, who will be seated on the Grand Hall stage. The program — titled “Shuffle, Play, Listen” (the same title as a CD released in 2011) — starts at 7:30 p.m. and will feature music from such disparate composers as J.S. Bach, Igor Stravinsky, Radiohead and Arcade Fire.

Although O’Riley is one of this generation’s top pianists, he is perhaps better known as the host of the NPR program “From the Top” (6 p.m. Sundays on KUSC). Haimovitz, who made his debut at age 13 with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic and his recording debut shortly thereafter on Deutsche Grammophon with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony, mixes appearances at concert halls throughout the world with gigs at clubs and coffee houses.

By Robert D. Thomas

Read at: LA Daily News

Broadway World: Haimovitz and O’Riley Reunite for New Beethoven Tour

January 5, 2015

Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley, two fearless musicians who have bonded over common musical passions of wide range and scope, reunite for BEETHOVEN, Period., an illuminating voyage back to the birth of the cello/piano genre with Beethoven’s Sonatas for Pianoforte and Cello. Grammy-nominated Matt Haimovitz, praised as a musical visionary in pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, and O’Riley, acclaimed for his engaging and deeply committed performances and known to millions as the host of NPR’s From the Top, turn back the clock to record for the first time on period instruments – Haimovitz’s Venetian Matteo Gofriller cello of 1710 set up with gut strings and an early 19th century tailpiece, and O’Riley with an 1823 original Broadwood fortepiano. The new recording on two SACDs is available internationally on February 1, 2015 on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series.

Haimovitz and O’Riley take BEETHOVEN, Period. on tour-sampling a variety of fortepianos en route-starting in Los Angeles on January 29, through April 11, when they perform at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.Complete tour dates and details below.

“Each time I approach Beethoven’s Sonatas and Variations for Piano and Cello is a life-affirming milestone,” says Haimovitz, who wrote his undergraduate thesis on the Beethoven Sonatas at Harvard University twenty years ago, “To grapple with the composer’s uncompromising vision, and his ideal of equality and balance. Yet, nothing could have prepared me and Chris for the revelation of exploring these works using period instruments. With this setup, the fact that the cello can easily overpower its partner changes everything. Suddenly, the consideration is no longer “how can the cello cut through the multi-voiced powerhouse of a concert grand piano,” but “how can it make room for the nuances of the 19th century fortepiano?””

For his part, O’Riley, who has recorded extensively on a variety of instruments, was amazed by the problem-free 1823 fortepiano: “It was exceedingly unexpected and astonishing to find that this nearly 200-year old instrument was in such immaculate condition. I’d place this in my Top Five instruments I’ve ever played.”

Finding the ideal tuning was also revelatory. While there were a variety of tunings in use in Beethoven’s Vienna, Matt and Chris found that their instruments resonated ideally at A=430, a microtone lower than the modern A=440 and higher than the Baroque A=415. “I think we all vibrate a little better at that pitch,” says O’Riley.

For Haimovitz and O’Riley, there is no more fascinating, influential, and documented figure than Beethoven. And, centuries before the duo blurred the lines between Radiohead and Stravinsky – as in their acclaimed Shuffle.Play.Listen for the Oxingale label – Beethoven had already embraced vernaculars within his music, using popular themes of the day by Mozart and Handel in his Variations. Returning to the cello and piano over three important periods in his career – early, middle, and late – Beethoven reveals his innermost struggles and triumphs as he marries the two disparate instruments, fearlessly unshackling the cello from its continuo origins, and confronting the challenges of its low voice in relation to the piano’s polyphony. Within a twenty-year period, Beethoven singlehandedly created and immortalized the genre.

Extensive liner notes by Matt Haimovitz explore further details and insights into the Sonatas and Variations -Opus 5, Opus 69, and the Opus 102 Sonatas, completed exactly 200 years ago, in 1815. Also in the notes, William Meredith, Director of The Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, and Executive Director of The American Beethoven Society, discusses the 1823 Broadwood fortepiano used in the recording.

BEETHOVEN, Period. is the debut release on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series. Oxingale Records, the trailblazing artists’ label founded in 2000 by Matt Haimovitz and composer Luna Pearl Woolf, has joined forces with the Amsterdam-based label PENTATONE, renowned for its discerning artistic quality and superior audiophile technology. The international release of BEETHOVEN, Period. will be followed by new albums and reissues from Haimovitz, Woolf, and their musical collaborators – in SACD 5.1 surround sound and as high definition downloads – on the new PENTATONE Oxingale Series.

BEETHOVEN, Period. is a Tippet Rise Production. The recording was made possible by the American Beethoven Society.

Grammy-nominated Matt Haimovitz is acclaimed for both his tremendous artistry and as a musical visionary – pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, championing new music and initiating groundbreaking collaborations, all while mentoring an award-winning studio of young cellists at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal. Mr. Haimovitz made his debut at the age of 13, as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, and at 17 he made his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon with James Levine and theChicago Symphony Orchestra. Haimovitz’s recording career encompasses more than 20 years of award-winning work on Deutsche Grammophon and his own Oxingale Records. In 2000, he made waves with his Bach “Listening-Room” Tour, for which Haimovitz took Bach’s beloved cello suites out of the concert hall and into clubs. Haimovitz’s honors include the Concert Music Award from ASCAP, the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Grand Prix du Disque, and the Diapason d’Or.

Acclaimed for his engaging and deeply committed performances, pianist Christopher O’Riley is known to millions as the host of NPR’s From the Top, now in its fifteenth year on air. A guest soloist with virtually all of the major American orchestras, O’Riley has also performed recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. O’Riley strives to introduce new audiences to classical music with an almost missionary zeal by performing piano arrangements of music by Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana alongside traditional classical repertoire. A prolific recording artist, O’Riley has recorded for Sony Classical, Oxingale Records, RCA Red Seal, Decca, and Harmonia Mundi. He has received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and an equally coveted four-star review from Rolling Stone magazine.

Read at: Broadway World

The Examiner: Memorable recordings in 2014: GRAMMY nominations and beyond

December 26, 2014

Having made clear my discontent with the nominations for the 57th annual GRAMMYawards, I feel more than obliged to recognize that this was actually a rather good year for those who listen to recordings. One explanation for this difference of opinion may be found in the writings of Virgil Thomson recently collected as a single volume by Library of America. In one of his Herald Tribune columns, Thomson suggested that there were three kinds of audience. There is, of course, the “mass public,” there is the “musical audience,” which is more keenly aware of the technical aspects of execution, and there is the “intellectual audience,” that “wants culture with its music, wants information, historical perspectives, enlarged horizons.” My guess is that GRAMMY nominations tend to reflect the preferences of the mass public, while I have never tried to hide my intellectual stance.

Sometimes these two perspectives come into alignment. That was certainly the case with the Naxos recording of Darius Milhaud’s L’Orestie D’Eschyle, the first recording of the composer’s interpretation of Aeschylus’ dramatic trilogy to be released in its entirety. This was a worthy project that could certainly not be faulted for its impressive execution. Perhaps the GRAMMY judges were particularly taken with the episode in “Les Choéphores” in which the murder of Clytemnestra is described, in true Greek chorus fashion, by spoken recitation, which, in true Milhaud fashion, is accompanied by fifteen percussionists and speaking chorus. Whatever the reason, this recording will be up against some very stiff competition in the “Best Opera” category (even if it is not, strictly speaking, an opera). It will probably be a long shot for the final award, but for me it stands as one of the most memorable recordings of 2014.

For the benefit of those who like “top ten” lists, I have no trouble recognizing nine other recordings, all of which did not seem to register strongly enough with the GRAMMY judges:

  • On the other hand the current judges seem to have favored David Krakauer for his Dreams & Prayers album. For my part, however, I felt that Oxingale’s release of Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Timeat the beginning of April was a far more significant event. The title refers to Henri Akoka, the Jewish clarinetist held in Stalag VIII-A, the same prisoner-of-war camp in which Messiaen was interned. It was during his imprisonment that Messiaen composed his famous quartet, and he worked closely with Akoka on the clarinet part. On this recording the other quartet performers are violinist Jonathan Crow, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and pianist Geoffrey Burleson; and the “reframing” part of the project includes some killer improvisation work from Krakauer, Since I first listened to this recording shortly after its release, this album has become my first choice when asked to recommend a good recording of Messiaen’s quartet.

By: Stephen Smoliar

Read entire article at: The Examiner

Ravalli Republic: Shuffle.Play.Listen: Pianist Matt Haimovitz and cellist Christopher O’Riley to perform at Hamilton PAC

November 20, 2014

“Shuffle.Play.Listen” is the program title of the upcoming concert by acclaimed pianist and host of NPR’s From the Top Christopher O’Riley and Grammy-nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz, to be presented this Saturday evening by the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council.

Monica Grable, executive director of the BPAC, said the Bitterroot Valley audience will be wowed by this performance.

“We’ve only begun to present classical music within the past few years and we strive to offer the best of whatever genre we are presenting – these are some of the best,” said Grable.

“Whether or not people view themselves as a classical music fan, this is a musically diverse concert that anyone would enjoy live. Seeing great artists perform live is infinitely better than any other medium.”

Haimovitz and O’Riley are “each considered rock stars of the classical music world, both known for engaging a new generation and blurring the lines between classical and a wide range of other popular music genres – including rock. In this exciting concert, the celebrated artists will perform from a wide-ranging playlist including works by Stravinsky, Piazzolla, Radiohead, John McLaughlin and Arcade Fire.”

“This concert is particularly exciting for music lovers of all kinds; although they are highly regarded as classical musicians, they are also known for creating arrangements – covers – of complex rock tunes by bands like Radiohead,” said Grable. “This is a not-to-be-missed concert.

“Christopher O’Riley is one of the most renowned pianists in the country, though most people know him from his radio show, From the Top, showcasing phenomenal young musicians. He continues to enjoy the most diverse creative life of any pianist of his generation and plays a multitude of styles and genres from pre-Baroque to compositions of the present day: as concerto soloist and conductor, the dozens of works in his repertoire with orchestra span all centuries.”

“Matt Haimovitz is a Grammy-nominated artist who has received a lot of attention for his work inside and outside of classical music. He is a contemporary cellist that everyone is paying attention to. He brings a fresh ear to familiar repertoire, champions new music and initiates ground-breaking collaborations as well as creating innovative recording projects.”

The Bitterroot Performing Arts Council is continuing their tradition of educational outreach experiences and has partnered with both performers to offer master classes on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Christopher O’Riley will conduct a master class for invited advanced high school and college students on the stage of the Hamilton Performing Arts Center and an audience is welcome to observe. In this class, valley students will be able to participate in the conversation and watch O’Riley as he works with University of Montana piano students who will have prepared pieces for him to critique.

The master class with Matt Haimovitz, for invited advanced high school and college students, will take place in the Hamilton High School choir rehearsal room, where an audience is also welcome.

BPAC has scholarship tickets available for student musicians to attend the evening concert. Anyone interested should call the box office at 363-7946.

For more information about the artists visit their websites: christopheroriley.com and matthaimovitz.com.

By: Michelle McConnaha

Read at: Ravalli Republic