Rhapsody: MATT HAIMOVITZ’S ADVENTUROUS CELLO

August 21, 2015

It’s easy (too easy) to think of any classical artist who is covering a pop song as a musician who is engaged in a little bit of opportunism. That’s because there is sometimes a little bit of pandering involved. But on other occasions, the crossover move really works. Click play on our mix, and you’ll hear one of those successes: cellist Matt Haimovitz’s scratchy-then-melodic cover of The Beatles’ iconic “Helter Skelter.” Aside from the performance’s ingenuity, it’s impressive that it also comes on Haimovitz’s new multidisc set of solo cello pieces (on which he plays music by Philip Glass as well as Luigi Dallapiccola). Continue reading

Second Inversion: ALBUM REVIEW: ORBIT: Music for Solo Cello (1945-2014)

August 17, 2015

What do Jimi Hendrix guitar solos, György Ligeti sonatas, Shakespeare sonnets, and Spanish sarabandes all have in common? Each of them appears in one form or another on cellist Matt Haimovitz’s latest release, “Orbit: Music for Solo Cello (1945-2014).”

Sprawling in scope, “Orbit” is a three-disc compilation of music for solo cello featuring works by over 20 contemporary composers, 15 of whom are still living. The ambitious solo album is also one of the first releases on the new Pentatone Oxingale Series. This innovative new project is a collaboration between the Dutch classical music label PENTATONE and Haimovitz’s own  trailblazing artists’ label Oxingale Records, which he created in 2000 with his partner in life and music, composer Luna Pearl Woolf. Continue reading

AllMusic: Review of ORBIT: Music for Solo Cello (1945-2014)

August 14, 2015

AllMusic Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

On this 2015 compilation of contemporary solo cello music, Matt Haimovitz presents a diverse program of past performances, drawn from his recordings on Oxingale Records. The selections have been remastered for HD sound by PentaTone, so the audio quality of these 3 hybrid SACDs is superior to the sound of the first releases, which appeared on the albums Anthem (2003), Goulash! (2005), After Reading Shakespeare (2007), Figment (2009), and Matteo (2011). The selections range from popular music to the avant-garde, and Haimovitz explores major examples of modern cello music, from Luigi Dallapiccola’s Ciaconna, Intermezzo e Adagio (1945) to Philip Glass’ Orbit (2014), and embraces many of the trends that make up contemporary music, including a virtuoso arrangement by Luna Pearl Woolf of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter.

By: Blair Sanderson

Read at: AllMusic

Thought Catalog: Music For Writers: Matt Haimovitz’s Cello Solos Go Into ‘Orbit’

August 13, 2015

Four Hours: ‘A Small Part Of The Repertoire’

You could do worse than play a 1710 cello made by the Venetian luthier Matteo Goffriller, but what Matt Haimover now is doing on that instrument can come very close to explaining what we mean by an author’s “voice” in writing.

  • He can stroll up on you with the walking-bass ease of a 1945 Luigi Dallapiccola adagio.
  • He can shimmy his bow way down into a slurry of nervous buzzes in Steven Mackey’s Rhondo Variations of 1983.
  • He can tell you “The source of all humor is not laughter but sorrow,” and then play Paul Moravec’s Mark Twain Sez second movement, “Humor,” pacing out a profoundly elegant clearing in his audience’s mind to hold just such a contradictory quip.

And all the while, you’ll know it’s him.

As when an accomplished author moves through the minds and vocabularies of a broad cast of characters, you never lose your grasp on this artist’s singular “voice,” even as Haimovitz works his way through four hours — yes, four hours — of solo cello performance.

Orbit, this three-disc set, takes its name from the Philip Glass 2014 meditation that opens it. We’ve just been writing here in Music For Writers about the remarkable, architectural genius for building a work that Glass brings to his music. And what Dennis Russell Davies and the Bruckner Orchester do for Glass’ Symphony No. 10,you now get to hear Haimovitz do for this lonely étude. Both men’s voices — Glass’ devastating primacy in construction and Haimovitz’s relentless drive of exploration — stand in gracious respect of each other.

Thanks to New York Public Radio’s 24/7 free contemporary classical Internet stream Q2 Music, you can hear it. Orbit is Album of the Week at Q2 Music, and it’s no wonder that Doyle Ambrust there writes of having “a cranium full of Matt Haimovitz.” One of the most intensive exposures to a single artist’s vast vocabulary to come along in years, Orbit is drawn from the years 1945 to 2014 and almost 25 composers. They include Jimi Hendrix (Anthem, 2002) and Luna Pearl Woolf (Haimovitz’s composer-partner) in an evocation of Paul McCartney and John Lennon (Helter Skelter, 1968)

In his notes, Hamovitz talks of the 20th century’s Tower of Babel with respect and good cheer, embracing “its boldness, diversity, complexity and its return to the natural order of harmony.” And what you hear as his own instrumental voice rises to unify this long conversation is a stamp of artistry coming into its own. The Oxingale label is one founded by Haimovitz, himself, and in December it became a partner of the Pentatone Music brand.

It’s thanks to Pentatone’s designers, in fact, that the album has its remarkable cover. Haimovitz tells me he doesn’t know where the photo comes from or what it depicts. But as you hear this work, you’ll realize that Pentatone is speaking Haimovitzian quite well: From an impossible height, several people gaze down on what looks like the 20th century itself, a vast city of sunlit ambition.

Marin Alsop. Image: Grant Leighton

Marin Alsop. Image: Grant Leighton

The dizzying eloquence of that shot is one of the first things Haimovitz and I talked about as I reached him in Santa Cruz. He was there for a performance on Saturday evening (15th August) in Maestra Marin Alsop’s Cabrillo Festival.

Haimovitz will headline with violinist Tim Fainan evening named for the West Coast premiere of Nico Muhly’sWish You Were Here. The program also features music of Missy Mizzoli (River Rouge Transfiguration, West Coast premiere); Sean Shephard (Blue Blazes, West Coast premiere); Hannah Lash (Eating Flowers, world premiere of a festival commission); and Glass — Haimovitz and Fain give his Double Concerto for Violin and Cello its West Coast premiere.

The Israeli-born artist (“HIGH-moe-vitz”) made his debut in 1984 at age 13 with Zuben Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, recorded for years with Deutsche Grammophon, and is a Grammy nominee whose friendly, easy bearing gives him a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor.

“Might sell more albums without my face on the cover, too,” he cracks, as we talk about the arresting cover shot for Orbit.

‘It’s Really A Singing Instrument’

On a windswept phone connection, typical of Santa Cruz, I opened our chat by telling him how very recognizable his cello-voice is becoming.

Matt Haimovitz

Matt Haimovitz

Thought Catalog: Matt, I’m reminded in listening to Orbit, that your technique is always attuned to what each composer wants, and yet I hear your “cellic” voice every time. It’s taken this long to develop that distinctive a personality as an artist, doesn’t it?

Matt Haimovitz: I appreciate that comment because in this day and age, there’s so much conformity and uniformity, it’s often very difficult to tell the difference [between one performing instrumentalist and another].

I used to play that game all the time, growing up as a teenager, with a collection of LPs…you’d put something on and have to guess who was playing, [Pierre] Fournier or [Leonard] Rose or [Pablo] Casals, whoever it was. These days, I’m not sure I could even tell them all apart. So your saying that means a lot, thank you.

“All these composers you hear on Orbit, you can tell, love that chameleon aspect of the instrument…It’s really a singing instrument.”
Matt Haimovitz

TC: I don’t think we’d actually know this, in fact, though, if you hadn’t done something like Orbit. If you hadn’t put so much diverse music together at once like this, I’m not sure we’d be getting this effect of saying, “My God, I can still hear Haimovitz, even in this and this and this piece. It’s an unexpected benefit from this project.

MH: With it all in one place, yeah. And it was never intended that way. It was intended as single albums. And we were trying to figure out how to put it all out and decided to put it together. And I think you’re right, there’s this scope to it. And amazingly, this is just a small part of the repertoire for cello. There’s great stuff throughout Europe, German composers, French composers, Asian — maybe this is the start of a longer term project. (He laughs with a tinge of exhaustion.)

You’re right, it’s great after 15 years of going project by project, to see so much of it in context and all in one place.

TC: And we don’t get it as well unless  you do solo work, too. I don’t think we can hear it as clearly. I don’t ever want to hear you with an ensemble again.

MH: (He laughs.) Don’t say that. But it’s true, when you think of soloists, you think of piano. And yet, starting with Bach and even before Bach, the overtones on this instrument are so rich that we can provide our own bass. You can always take away overtones, but you can’t add them. So all these composers you hear on Orbit, you can tell, love that chameleon aspect of the instrument. In a sense, we can accompany ourselves and we can play as high as the violin or flute or saxophone. It’s really a singing instrument .

TC: Like [the composer] Paola Prestini and [cellist] Jeffrey Ziegler, you and Luna Pearl Woolf can work together as composer and performer when you want to, right?

Luna Pearl Woolf

Luna Pearl Woolf

MH: Luna is one of six composers I’ve commissioned for a suite of overtures, one each, to the Bach suites, and I commissioned her for the sixth that I recorded on the cello piccolo. And she’s working on an opera for the Washington National.

TC: This is Better Gods, Luna’s opera based on Queen Liliuokalaniwhen Hawaii was annexed into the States, right? [The hour-long commission is part of the American Opera Initiative.]

MH: Right, it premieres in January. And she’s got some Hawaiian chant in the opera. And that chant was very similar to the motive in the Bach.  And when I pointed that out, that was it. So the piece is based on Hawaiian chant and some things in her opera.

TC: An overture to the sixth Bach cello suite with Hawaiian chant.

MH: Exactly.

TC: Can’t wait.

‘You Find A Way To Share It’

MH:  When we first started out in our relationship, Luna was so happy to have an advocate like me. And now, it’s almost a different story…doing this composition for me for the Bach was a bit of a relief from the really big form she’s working on with the opera.

TC: And with Luna’s composition career getting so big now and your career coming into this advanced stage, what do you find that you still feel you haven’t had a chance to do?

MH: You know,  I don’t really operate like that. At any one time, I’ve got lots of ideas and at any one time the challenge is weeding out some of those things and staying focused. I’m like a perpetual dreamer. At a young age, I could see connections between things that maybe you wouldn’t normally think of. That’s the way I’m wired. If I find something that’s engaging to me and I’m passionate about it, I want to see it all the way through. And I will it through. It sort of just works.

I don’t know what will happen in the next couple of years, but there are certain things, like Orbit. I never thought I’d have this kind of relationship with all these composers. As a 13 or 14-year-old practicing five hours a day, I never though I’d be recording [Gyorgy] Ligeti.

“It’s this idea that if you’re passionate about something, you stick with it and you share it. You find a way to share it.”
Matt Haimovitz

TC: And you know, when we hear about your debut at Carnegie when you were, what, 15? And you stepped in for Leonard Rose. Most of us would say, “Well, that’s when Matt realized he had arrived as a world-class musician.” Such a spectacular moment.

But really, it sounds like what you’re saying to me now and what we’re hearing on the Orbit album is a much deeper and richer form of coming into your own, a better understanding of yourself in the work, isn’t it?

MH: It is. And you know, it also has to just do with inhibitions. And embracing what is in front of you without fear. Absolutely. Not really worrying about what the trend is or what is popular. If I want to do something that would really sell, I’d go hook up with a drummer and a rock band.

But it’s this idea that if you’re passionate about something, you stick with it and you share it. You find a way to share it.

WQXR Q2 Music: Matt Haimovitz Channels Vast Dynamic Range in 4-Hour Retrospective, ‘Orbit’

August 10, 2015

I’ve got a cranium full of Matt Haimovitz at the moment, and have not yet reached capacity. Clocking in at 3.75 hours, the cello soloist’s latest release, “Orbit,” stockpiles the majority share of selections from five albums (on his Oxingale Records label), spanning 2003-2011, along with recent numbers by Phillip Glass and Luna Pearl Woolf. Continue reading

Volkskrant: Haimovitz is het soort muzikant dat elk stuk spannend maakt

August 5, 2015

4/5 stars

“a mighty triple CD with contemporary music for solo cello, is actually more of a quest…Orbit is named for the late and remarkably successful cello piece of Philip Glass…The album is basically an anthology (and something more) from the CDs that the cellist has released on his own label.
Haimovitz is a master cellist who draws from a three centuries old instrument not only a rich, full sound, but also more alarming sounds. He is the kind of musician that each piece is exciting because of his uncompromising commitment…”

RECENSIE Orbit, een kloeke driedubbel-cd met eigentijdse muziek voor cellosolo, is eigenlijk het verslag van een queeste. De Amerikaanse cellist Matt Haimovitz exploreert al twintig jaar minder voor de hand liggende uithoeken, of het nu om podia gaat of om muzikale genres.

Continue reading

The Boston Globe: Matt Haimovitz, period

July 9, 2015

Sometimes an artist’s most meaningful projects arise by chance, in everyday interactions, rather than through any grand plan. So, it seems, was the case with the intrepid cellist Matt Haimovitz, whose latest enthusiasm came about in the halls of McGill University, where he has been on the faculty for more than a decade. Every so often he would run into the fortepianist Tom Beghin, who also teaches there, and they would mention a possible collaboration.

Beghin, though, insisted that Haimovitz would have to play on the gut strings that were customary in the 18th and 19th centuries, rather than the metal strings used now, otherwise the cello would drown out the fortepiano’s lighter sound. And he’d have to tune his cello to a slightly lower pitch, with the note A below middle C at a frequency of 430 Hz instead of 440, today’s standard concert pitch.
Haimovitz, who plays two concerts with pianist Estela Olevsky in the Mohawk Trail Concerts series in Charlemont on Friday and Saturday, had always been curious about period approaches to his instrument, but he’d never followed through on it.

“Partly because I was a wimp about losing my sound,” he said by phone from San Francisco, where he was playing at a music festival. His training had all been about “playing on the setup that would maximize my ability to project in a big hall over an orchestra.” The thought of compromising that lush sound, he added, “didn’t cross my mind for years.”

Finally in 2012, he bit the bullet and scheduled a concert with Beghin that included Beethoven’s cello sonata (Op. 69) and the two piano trios of Opus 70. He began investigating gut strings, finding there was extreme variation in their makeup and quality. He tried out different Baroque-style bows. It was all pretty confusing at first.

The result, though, was totally liberating. The lighter sound and crisper articulation that he could produce on his Goffriller cello opened an entirely new musical realm. “It was such a joy, playing those pieces without having to worry about balance. All of a sudden, I could play loud without having to make room for the piano. It was wonderful.”

That initial rush did not wear off. “I went all in” on period instruments, Haimovitz said with a laugh. He has just released “Beethoven, Period,” a set of the composer’s sonatas and variations for cello and piano with longtime duo partner Christopher O’Riley playing an 1823 Broadwood fortepiano. The pair have now played the complete Beethoven a number of times — on modern instruments when they have to, but in correct historical fashion whenever possible.

The alternation between the different tunings was the hardest part of the new regime for Haimovitz to accommodate. Since he has perfect pitch, “it was nauseating at first, frankly,” to get used to switching back and forth between A440 and A430. “It took a long time. Chris and I would meet up every couple of weeks and find another keyboard. And every time we would do this it would start off sounding pretty bad, and gradually [I’d be] getting more and more used to it.”

The physical differences between old and new instruments, Haimovitz explained, affect the approaches of both performers, on both macro- and micro-levels. Balances, phrase shapes, even “the life of a note, [the way] it’s already resonating in a very different, more lively way. Being able to take the effort and time to shape it. You do that on metal, of course, but it just doesn’t draw it out of you in the same way.”

For listeners, the most immediately discernible difference lies in the sound world, which can be so unlike our modern ideal of these instruments as to be alien to our ears. Proof can be found on “Beethoven, Period” in the duo’s rendition of the variations on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” In the seventh variation, Haimovitz’s cello drops almost to a whisper without losing its presence, while the fortepiano creates a sound so distant and magical it resembles the stars twinkling in the night sky.

That wondrous sound, Haimovitz explained, was the result of the Broadwood’s particularly expressive soft pedal. Other fortepianos they’ve used have had different characteristics that they’ve had to adapt to on the fly. Haimovitz finds this with his gut strings: Even though he always uses strings made by the Toro family in the Abruzzo region of Italy, “they’re handmade, so it’s a little bit sometimes like riding in a rodeo — you don’t know what it’s going to throw at you at any given second. But that’s gotten to be a fun thing about them. It’s kind of one more interaction, give and take with my instrument.”

Haimovitz has already completed his next recording project: Bach’s six suites for solo cello, using not only gut strings on his Goffriller but also a five-string cello piccolo in the sixth suite, the instrument for which that treacherously difficult piece was originally written. He was on the fence about whether to learn the cello piccolo for the recording. “But there was just no turning back at that point.”

For the Mohawk Trails recitals, he’ll be back on metal strings, playing with a modern piano, since much of the repertoire is from the 20th century. (His accompanist, Estela Olevsky, is an old friend from his days teaching at the University of Massachusetts.) But his newfound passion will leave a trace even there. For Beethoven’s variations on Mozart’s “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen,” he’ll use a Baroque-style bow made by Cambridge bowmaker David Hawthorne. The combination of old and new turns out to suit the music perfectly. “I like the lightness of it in my hand,” he said. “It’s like a sports car in my hand, rather than a pickup truck.”

The Bach set, which will come out later this year, will make a fascinating comparison with his 2000 recording, about which Haimovitz now says that he can “no longer recognize what I did 15 years ago.” That set was a crucial moment in the cellist’s artistic rebirth. It came when he had gotten off the treadmill of the celebrity virtuoso, playing familiar concertos to large audiences in glitzy halls, and began playing Bach, contemporary works, and his arrangement of Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” in bars and coffeehouses. If “indie classical” had a moment of inception, that was probably it.

For those who fell in love with Haimovitz’s progressive, contemporary sense of what a musician should be today — really, how could you not? — it may be jarring to see him embrace the distant past so fervently. But his goal remains the same: connecting with the music and his audience in the most direct, honest way possible. He’s gone through this latest journey because “it’s just more natural with the original tools. And that’s where you can just learn a lot from them.”

By: DAVID WEININGER

Read at: The Boston Globe

Audiophile Audition: BEETHOVEN, Period. Review

May 30, 2015

Matt Haimovitz is almost as good a writer as he is a cellist, and his intelligent notes to this recording make for fine, informative reading. Early on, he describes the instruments involved. Christopher O’Reilly plays an especially clear-voiced 1823 Thomas Broadwood fortepiano, which, we are told, is the model following the one that Broadwood himself gifted to Beethoven in 1817. As for Haimovitz, he plays a Venetian Goffriller cello of 1710 “outfitted with ox-gut strings and an early 19th-century rosewood tailpiece and drawn by a Dominique Peccate bow of the same era.” Haimovitz then muses, somewhat surprisingly, “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?’” I say “somewhat surprisingly” because, having listened to these performances several times before reading his notes, I found the thought of any sort of imbalance far from my mind.

Instead, I was struck by the special sort of tension maintained here between parity and contrast. Of course Beethoven pioneered the cello-and-piano sonata and, being Beethoven, he was not only “unshackling the cello from its continuo origins” but making the piano a full partner in the enterprise. Cf. the title of this album: “Complete Sonatas and Variations for Pianoforte and Violoncello.” Beethoven wrote his first two sonatas for himself and the celebrated cello virtuoso Jean-Louis Duport; for me, the first movement of Sonata No. 2 epitomizes the equally shared responsibility Beethoven mapped out for himself and his partner. By turns, piano and cello explore the explosive drama of this G-minor juggernaut. Chris O’Reilly clearly relishes being a stand-in for the German master here; his performance has special fire and élan. And I love the upper range of the Broadwood—crisp and bright, without a hint of jingle or jangle. In the mostly smiling rondo finale, Haimovitz nimbly negotiates Beethoven’s hairpin turns from bounding runs and double stops to throaty song.

For me, the greatest of all is the Sonata No. 3, Op. 69, and I have very definite ideas about how this piece from Beethoven’s heroic Middle Period should go. For me, Haimovitz and O’Reilly are just a little too non tanto in the Allegro ma non tanto first movement. Their approach is a bit too even-tempered, even genial, for me. Having reviewed the sonata album from Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin (Hyperion CDA67981/2) fairly recently, I still hear that duo’s highly charged approach in my mind’s ear and feel that Haimovitz and O’Reilly don’t quite stack up, at least in this movement. I’m quite a bit happier with their performance of the movements that follow: real Beethovenian swagger in the scherzo, and the finale is the whirling dervish of a thing that it should be. I’m even taken with Haimovitz’s plaintive statement of the second melody: a bit unusual but effective. In fact, this performance is more nuanced than some, with larger dynamic contrasts than many players allow themselves.

As Haimovitz says, Beethoven’s final two sonatas for cello “sound like modern music.” And he reminds us that the publisher to whom Beethoven first offered these works said thanks but no thanks! Haimovitz goes on, “There is almost a sense that Beethoven needs to break down the bounds of Op. 69, classically proportioned and balanced, to challenge the Platonic ideal of chamber music interplay. . . .” An astute observation and one that apparently pays interpretive dividends because these are among the finest performances I’ve heard of these somewhat intractable sonatas. Op. 102 No. 1 is especially fine (but then I much prefer it, as music, to No. 2).

As to the sets of variations, they are as always nimble and entertaining vehicles, here given spirited, sympathetic performances. Not my favorite Beethoven by a long shot, but when I want to hear them again, Haimovitz and O’Reilly are about as fine a pair of advocates as I know. Given that their playing is captured in beautifully true, beautifully balanced surround sound from PENTATONE, that’s all the more reason to return to this excellent pair of discs.

By: Lee Passarella

 

WQXR: In-Studio: Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O’Riley Play Beethoven & Rachmaninoff

April 15, 2015

Matt-Haimovitz-Christopher-ORileyThe cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley are quick to emphasize that their recent venture into Baroque period instruments isn’t some fusty or antiquated pursuit. The duo’s new album, “Beethoven, Period,” was recorded at Skywalker Ranch, film director George Lucas’s famous studio complex in Northern California. Instead of sheet music they played from iPads. Their Seattle launch concert took place at the Tractor Tavern, a rock club.

The experience with very old instruments also forced them to rethink their approach to Beethoven’s music. “All of the sudden, the relation between the cello and the piano is completely different,” Haimovitz tells host Elliott Forrest. “No longer am I trying to project over the grandeur of a Steinway grand but I’m actually having to make room for the piano.”

“You have a lot more leeway in terms of expressivity and color, even in the sense of one note having a shape to it,” added O’Riley.

The album features Beethoven’s complete works for cello and keyboard, with O’Riley playing on a fortepiano made in 1823 and Haimovitz outfitting his 1710 Goffriller cello with ox-gut strings, a rosewood tailpiece and a period bow.

The duo’s performance in the WQXR studio marked a return to (mostly) modern equipment – with a 1940’s Steinway and a modern cello bow – but two movements from the Opus 102 No. 2 sonata had a lightness and transparency that suggested time diligently spent in the period-instrument camp.

As Haimovitz notes, the Opus 102 sonatas “offer a window into Beethoven’s late period where he’s deconstructing all of the ideas of the enlightenment and what he inherited from Haydn and Mozart and really finding his own voice complete.” Below is the third movement.

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New York Classical Review: Haimovitz and O’Riley team up for intimate and revelatory Beethoven

April 12, 2015

Cellist Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley, at the fortepiano, played Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano in two separate concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday. As pioneering as the best of this music is, there is relatively little of it. On the fine CD that Haimovitz and O’Riley issued early this year, “Beethoven, Period,” the total works amount to two hours and twenty minutes.

The CD title, and O’Riley’s choice of instrument, gives away the special quality of these performances. Haimovitz played an early 18th century cello, fitted with gut strings and a rosewood tailpiece, and wielded a bow made by the celebrated 19th-century luthier Dominique Peccatte. At the museum, O’Riley played a modern replica of a six-and-a-half octave, 1830 Viennese fortepiano.

Period instruments commonly means a specific manner of playing, characteristically fast tempos and no vibrato in the strings, but what made this concert special was how the musicians used the instruments as a means to express their own interpretations, free of any particular stylistic dictates for how the music should go and of any didactic extremism.

Their brief but informative program notes described their thinking, how the fortepiano, with its jangle-y color and curt sustain doesn’t have the sonic power of the modern piano, and how the period cello, itself less resonant than its modern counterpart, has to leave space for its companion to be heard.

Beyond that technical challenge, at the second and final program Saturday evening, the pair played with a vibrant level of communication with each other and with the music. Every phrase and gesture was an opportunity to share, or respond, with each other and the audience, something they found meaningful in the music. Everything had a dynamic and rhythmic shape, and an expressive purpose. That seemed an ideal approach; like Beethoven’s violin sonatas, these are lively conversations.

The concert began with the Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen,” Pamina and Papagano’s duet from Die Zauberflöte, and the prominence of the fortepiano as an equal with what is usually the solo instrument is immediate—the keyboard plays Pamina’s opening melody, the cello the response.

The seven variations that follow make for one of Beethoven’s parlor works, music meant for pleasure and entertainment. The music perked up everyone’s attention—without the carry of modern instruments, the audience had to extend their ears a bit more toward the musicians. And so the sonatas that followed were intimate and absorbing. Working in chronological order, Haimovitz and O’Riley played Op. 69, then the two Op. 102 sonatas, Beethoven’s final works in the form.

The fundamental contrast in the instruments made the music sound that much better, the sharp, bright attack of the fortepiano expressed charm and rhythmic vitality, while the cello’s gut strings, which naturally emulate the human vocal chords, added a few milliseconds of envelop to every attack. The contrast between colors and long and short sounds seemed exactly what Beethoven was hearing in his head when he wrote the music.

The rhythmic tension in parts like the scherzo of Op. 69, the finale of Op. 102, No. 1, and the opening movement of Op. 102, No. 2—where the fortepiano seems to egg on the reluctant cello—was unusual and deeply satisfying. Haimovitz and O’Riley amiably debated exactly how the phrases should go, with no single correct answer. There was sufficient common ground so that the agreement to disagree opened up a whole new way of hearing the music.

With the fortepiano especially, O’Riley could play Beethoven’s tense, jaunty, explosive rhythms with a minimum of effort and a maximum of natural effect, they sounded far more danceable than usual. Meanwhile, Haimovitz played the melodic lines in the sonatas—some of Beethoven’s loveliest—with a light touch of vibrato at only the start of sustained tones, and with a swelling expression that followed the rise and fall of his phrases. He made everything sing.

The musicians’ grasp of the large-scale form was impressive. They took a minimum of breaks between individual movements, mainly so Haimovitz could retune, and were constantly driving forward, playing each note and measure with great musicality while also grasping the role each passage had in the powerful logic of Beethoven’s architecture.

Hearing these two gifted musicians working together with such pleasure and mutual understanding was like seeing two people collaborate on a challenging crossword puzzle, at high speed—fascinating in the moment, and, once the mind caught up to what they were doing, uncanny and dazzling.

By: 

Read at: New York Classical Review

Gramophone: BEETHOVEN Complete Cello Sonatas and Variations

March 20, 2015

Cellist Matt Haimovitz prefaces his period-instrument Beethoven cycle with an absorbing essay, writing that ‘the consideration is no longer the modern-day “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?”’ Good engineering also helps, and Pentatone’s vividly resonant production captures the music’s wide dynamic range with comparable clarity and heft to the two Bylsma editions, and surpasses the slightly dry and close-up Isserlis/Levin cycle. Continue reading

NPR: Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O’Riley Tiny Desk Concert

March 14, 2015

Whether it’s warranted or not, classical music wonks are perennially worried about the next generation of fans.

It seems there’s less need to fret when you hear cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley. Some 15 years ago, they were already chipping away at the barriers — both real and perceived — between classical and pop.

Haimovitz played Bach in barrooms across America, and O’Riley (who hosts From The Top, NPR’s classical radio show for young musicians) began including his own sophisticated transcriptions of songs by Radiohead and Elliott Smith in his recitals. On their double album Shuffle.Play.Listen., music by Stravinsky and Astor Piazzollamingles with Cocteau Twins and Arcade Fire.

Comfortably ensconced behind Bob Boilen’s desk, the duo plays a typically diverse set. The central work, “The Orchard,” is a collaboration between Philip Glass and West African composer Foday Musa Suso. It unfolds like a lullaby, as the piano’s rocking bass line provides a mesmerizing foundation for the cello’s wistful song high above. Surrounding it are lyricism and outbursts byBeethoven, from his Cello Sonata No. 4 (sounding distinctly 20th century), and a cinematic movement from Leoš Janáček‘s Pohádka, where heart-melting melodies clash with nervous energy.

Set List

  • Beethoven: Cello Sonata No. 4 in C – IV. Allegro vivace
  • Philip Glass/Foday Musa Suso: The Orchard
  • Leoš Janáček: Pohádka – II. Con moto

Matt Haimovitz, cello

Christopher O’Riley, piano

Credits

Producers: Tom Huizenga, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Morgan McCloy, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Carlos Waters; photo by Carlos Waters/NPR

By: 

Read at: NPR

AllMusic: Beethoven, Period. REVIEW

4.5/5 Stars

Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley released their first album together in 2011, an eclectic program of clever crossover arrangements titled Shuffle.Play.Listen. Haimovitz is well-known for bringing a contemporary attitude to his performances, often performing in clubs instead of classical venues, and his interest in making exciting music with a popular feeling has won him a big following. For this 2014 hybrid SACD release on PentaTone, though, Haimovitz and O’Riley turn their attention to the pinnacle of classical music for cello and piano, the 5 Cello Sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. With his fans sure to follow where he leads, Haimovitz doesn’t need to add anything to this music to spice it up, and he and O’Riley approach the sonatas and three sets of variations with seriousness and dedication, if not exactly reverence. While the sonatas are played as straight as the title suggests, Haimovitz and O’Riley play with considerable emotion and élan, yet avoid making their performances seem like an academic recital. There is a lot of personality here, chiefly Haimovitz’s, and even though the music was performed on period instruments, the cello’s sound is robust, and the fortepiano is far from fragile. Still, this set might represent too much freedom for period style purists, so these energetic performances might not be for everybody and sampling is advised. [N.B. In the album’s listing, tracks 4 and 8 are reversed.]

By: Blair Sanderson

Strings Magazine: What Would Beethoven Think?

March 1, 2015
Matt Haimovitz

Matt Haimovitz’s new Beethoven set launches affiliation with Dutch label

Even for pioneering cellist Matt Haimovitz, recording Beethoven’s complete music for cello and piano on period instruments was an audacious step. There were musicological depths to be plumbed—based on manuscripts, first editions, and scholarly research—and practical performance issues to be addressed in order to ensure that the results of his new two-CD package on the newly minted Pentatone/Oxingale label called Beethoven, Period be simultaneously authoritative and entertaining. Throughout the project, Haimovitz had in his mind “at every second whether Beethoven would like this or not.”

Recording the Beethoven cycle had been a dream since his days at Harvard when he wrote his thesis on Beethoven’s last cello sonatas and his advisor was famed Beethoven scholar Lewis Lockwood, Haimovitz says. Once he discovered that pianist Christopher O’Riley, his frequent collaborator at experiencing music “between the genres as the iPod generations do,” loved and was conversant with old instruments himself, the two gave a few performances. “It was such a revelation,” Haimovitz says, “that when we heard Skywalker Sound was free, we decided to record the complete set.”

Playing his 1710 Matteo Goffriller cello, strung with Toro Strings’ ox gut and set up by Louis Gaucher in Montréal, and partnered by O’Riley on an 1823 Broadwood, Haimovitz is using the Beethoven cycle recordings to launch his new Pentatone initiative: Beginning this year, new albums and critically acclaimed reissues from Haimovitz and his musical collaborators will be available internationally in SACD 5.1 surround sound and as high-definition downloads.

Haimovitz’s next recording will be a second go at Bach’s Six Cello Suites using a cello piccolo for the Sixth Suite. “They will be different from my recordings of 15 years ago—which I no longer recognize,” he says. The cycle will be accompanied by a newly commissioned overture for each suite by composers Philip and Vijay Iyer, among others. Each overture will be 5-15 minutes long and will reflect music from a different part of the world using Indian modes and rhythms, Greek chant, Middle Eastern and other influences. Improvisation will play a role in Iyer’s piece, Haimovitz says, and there will be “improv in the compositional process of the other new pieces.”

At press time, Haimovitz and O’Riley planned to launch Beethoven, Period in concerts in Los Angeles and San Francisco (where the duo is in residence at the Conservatory), and at clubs and listening parties in Seattle, Eugene, and Portland, where they will “play live and also experience the music in audiophile-quality surround sound.”

By Laurence Vittes posted

Read at: Strings Magazine

Second Inversion: NEW VIDEOS: Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley at the Tractor Tavern

February 19, 2015

In case you missed these on Facebook and Twitter, be sure to check out these videos with Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley from the iconic Tractor Tavern in the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

(Yes, that is a styrofoam cup in Matt’s cello)

(Beethoven in a Bar… why not?!)

Read at: Second Inversion

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

AngelHeart feature2

Angel Heart, a music storybook

Angel Heart a music storybook

Angel Heart
a music storybook

Click to listen and buy the deluxe CD package from:
coming soon

 

Official website: angelheartmusicstorybook.com

 

Haunting, heady, and evocative, Angel Heart is a music storybook with Continue reading

O'Riley's Liszt - Blu-ray Video/Audio Disc

O’Riley’s Liszt

OX2020 CD_Cover_CMYK

O’Riley’s Liszt – 2-CD set

OX2021 BD_Cover_RBG

O’Riley’s Liszt – Blu-ray Video/Audio Disc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Click to preview and buy the Blu-ray:

Pianist Christopher O’Riley’s virtuosity, showmanship and iconoclast status make him the Franz Liszt of our time. In O’Riley’s Liszt, Chris delves into the transcriptions of that master interpreter, adding his own touches and insight to the music of Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Schubert and Schumann. This multi-layered audio and visual experience 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

Matteo: 300 Years of an Italian Cello

Matteo: 300 Years of an Italian Cello

Matteo: 300 Years of an Italian Cello

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Haimovitz interweaves Gabrielli’s Ricercari with music from Italy’s leading contemporary composers. Continue reading

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

J. S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

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Oxingale Records brings you J.S. Bach’s timeless and beloved Goldberg Variations, performed by the acclaimed trio of cellist Matt Haimovitz, violinist Jonathan Crow and violist Douglas McNabney.

The trio’s 2007, Juno-Nominated album: Mozart the Mason was called 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

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

Oswego County Today: Artswego Series Opens With Matt Haimovitz’s Traveling Bach Cello Suites

August 30, 2015

OSWEGO — Renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz will launch the season’s Artswego Performing Arts Series at SUNY Oswego with the unaccompanied cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach performed in four different campus and community locations on Sept. 15 and 16.

Cellist Matt Haimovitz, who as a prodigy played with Zubin Mehta at 13 and recorded with the Chicago Symphony at 17, now takes it to the streets. He will offer a four-stop "Moveable Feast" of Bach suites Sept. 15-16, concluding with a performance for SUNY Oswego's Performing Arts Series at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16, in Sheldon Hall ballroom.

Cellist Matt Haimovitz, who as a prodigy played with Zubin Mehta at 13 and recorded with the Chicago Symphony at 17, now takes it to the streets. He will offer a four-stop “Moveable Feast” of Bach suites Sept. 15-16, concluding with a performance for SUNY Oswego’s Performing Arts Series at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16, in Sheldon Hall ballroom.

With earlier stops in Syracuse, downtown Oswego and the college’s Penfield Library, the musical tour will conclude with Haimovitz’ ticketed performance of the last three Bach suites and accompanying overtures in solo recital in at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16, in SUNY Oswego’s Sheldon Hall ballroom. Continue reading

Primephonic: To Inspire, To Create, To Engage and To Empower

August 18, 2015

On this day in 1920, women were guaranteed the vote in the USA, which, when finally ratified by the state of Tennessee, led to a majority – basically making it the law of the land that women could vote!

By the beginning of the 20th century, women’s roles were changing drastically. Women were becoming more and more autonomous, working increasingly outside the home and receiving better education. When America entered the war in 1917, women had played an active role in the war effort and a year later, women had acquired equal suffrage with men in 15 states. Commemorating this historic day is a perfect time to reflect on and draw your attention to a handful of strong 21stcentury women in classical music. Continue reading

Performing Arts Monterey Bay: Cabrillo Festival, Part 2

August 18, 2015

THE TOUGH THING about new music is making it memorable. This means providing enough intellectual structure—architecture—so that the listener can remember it after the fact. While I don’t know if this idea is shared by the young composers who are welcomed as guests each year at the Cabrillo Festival it does beg the question. Continue reading

Arts SF: SANTA CRUZ SPRINGS TO LIFE With Cabrillo’s Contemporary Orchestral Sounds

August 17, 2015

SANTA CRUZ, CA—The final weekend of the Cabrillo Festival is inevitably invigorating, with one new orchestral piece almost atop the other, sometimes with the ink barely dry.

This is Music Director Marin Alsop’s baby, now in her 24th season on the summer podium here. Here she and the devotees can feast on contemporary sounds, created by figures either well-known (like Philip Glass) or otherwise. Continue reading

Q2 Music: Matt Haimovitz Channels Vast Dynamic Range in 4-Hour Retrospective, ‘Orbit’

August 10, 2015

A Q2 Music Album of the Week Selection.

'Matt Haimovitz - Orbit: Music for Solo Cello (1945-2014)'“Matt Haimovitz – Orbit: Music for Solo Cello (1945-2014)” (Pentatone Music)

I’ve got a cranium full of Matt Haimovitz at the moment, and have not yet reached capacity. Clocking in at 3.75 hours, the cello soloist’s latest release, “Orbit,” stockpiles the majority share of selections from five albums (on his Oxingale Records label), spanning 2003-2011, along with recent numbers by Phillip Glass and Luna Pearl Woolf.

To be clear, listening to four hours’ worth of any unaccompanied instrument is generally accepted as a legitimate defense in arson/public indecency/manslaughter trials, but here, Haimovitz cleverly arranges his three-album set more as a playlist than a triptych of full-lengths. Given his exemplary facility on the instrument, and the liberal span of repertoire he’s tackled since debuting with the Israel Philharmonic at age 13, “Orbit” is an expedition well worth booting up for.

Leaping from György Ligeti to Du Yun, Elliott Carter to Steven Mackey, and Salvatore Sciarrino to Jimi Hendrix, to name just a few the 20-plus composers included within, intriguing aesthetic parallels reveal themselves, and preferences necessarily arise. Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XIV stands as the collection’s high water mark, with Haimovitz deftly shapeshifting from cellist to percussionist, corralling the piece’s manic polarities of lyricism and full-on-berserker into a nuanced, handsomely-crafted episode.

What connects all of this music is a focus and intensity of tone that at times reads as aggressive in Haimovitz’s live performances, but here brings a clarity to a vast dynamic palette and articulation range. Take the timbral detail heard in the arresting conclusion to Woolf’s Sarabande, the harmonics of which pull the listener’s perspective skyward before a fluttering seizure of overpressure extinguishes the ascent.

Although “Orbit” gets off to a quivery start with an uncharacteristically pale Phillip Glass score (of the same title), Haimovitz delivers the bill-paying skills throughout in this considerable, and impressive, retrospective.

By: DOYLE ARMBRUST

Read at: WQXR 105.9 FM New York Public Radio.