The Charlotte Observer: A cup of coffee, Bach and a cool musician

March 23, 2015

An internationally known cellist lands in Charlotte for one night to play Bach. And the venue he picks is … a coffeehouse?

Well, why not? Johann Sebastian – whose 330th birthday is March 31, by the way – sometimes heard his music played in intimate, informal venues. He liked coffee, writing one of his few secular cantatas (BWV 211) about its delights. A soprano sings “Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,/ More delicious than a thousand kisses,/ milder than muscatel wine” and vows any prospective husband must swear he’ll let her make the brown brew daily. Continue reading

Le Devoir: Beethoven. Les sonates et variations pour violoncelle et piano, Matt Haimovitz, Christopher O’Riley

March 20, 2015

Les Sonates et Variations pour violoncelle et piano.
Matt Haimovitz, Christopher O’Riley. Pentatone SACD PTC 5186 475.

Professeur à l’école de musique Schulich de l’Université McGill, le violoncelliste Matt Haimovitz avait commencé sa carrière par un contrat de disque avec Deutsche Grammophon. Cette parution, fruit d’une association de son propre label, Oxingale, avec Pentatone, amène à un questionnement de fond : le rôle des grands labels est-il vraiment de « brûler » des jeunes artistes, avant de les abandonner quand ils ont quelque chose de majeur à dire ? Car cette intégrale des Sonates pour violoncelle et piano de Beethoven, enregistrée dans les studios de George Lucas en Californie, est majeure. Haimovitz s’associe avec un pianoforte, instrument du temps de Beethoven. Ce Broadwood de 1823, d’une beauté quasi irréelle, est la vedette de l’enregistrement. O’Riley en fait ressortir les secrets sonores et Haimovitz l’entoure des meilleures attentions et intentions, ne l’écrasant jamais. Quelle merveille !

By: Christophe Huss

Read at: Le Devoir

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

Free Times: Concerts in Columbia: March 19-25

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Matt Haimovitz | photo by Stephanie McKinnon

Thursday 19

Matt Haimovitz — Matt Haimovitz — who ranks among the world’s very best cellists — is performing his interpretation of Bach’s six solo cello suites not at a buttoned-up recital hall but at a venerable dive. Haimovitz has been bringing classical chamber music out of the conservatory and into intimate, alternative spaces for 15 years now, boldly going where other classical musicians fear to tread. In the process, he’s reinvigorated classical music with a punk spirit. — Patrick Wall

New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $10; 791-4413,

Read at: Free Times

Hamilton Spectator: Rocky’s rundown on JunoFest

March 11, 2015


With all the pop fanfare of the awards’ telecast, people forget that the Junos has a highbrow element as well. The Church of St. John the Evangelist, at Charlton and Locke, will host two classically oriented concerts. The first, on Friday at 7:30 p.m., features Hamilton-born singer-songwriter Jeremy Fisher, a nominee in the adult contemporary category, plus the HPO Brass Quintet, Capella Intima, Emma Rush and Vox Metropolis. On Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., Juno nominees Matt Haimovitz (cello) and Paul Stewart (piano), theBlythwood Winds and Piano Duo 2×10.

By: Graham Rockingham

Read at: Hamilton Spectator

Montreal Gazette: Seven Days, Seven Nights: The Damn Truth, Elephant Stone in a must-see show this week

March 11, 2015

Internationally acclaimed cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley play an all-Beethoven program at Salle Bourgie (1339 Sherbrooke St. W.) at 7:30 p.m. This tour has them “going period” with O’Riley playing an 1823 Broadwood fortepiano and Haimovitz’s 1710 Matteo Gofriller cello set up with ox-gut strings. Admission: $30.50. Tickets: 514-285-2000 or

By: Richard Burnett

Read at: Montreal Gazette

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


March 1, 2015

Though works by core-repertoire composers like Beethoven and Brahms figure in this month’s survey of the best new classical releases, the majority of our attached mix is dominated by modern and contemporary music. Spiky, energetic 20th-century pieces by Iannis Xenakis and Erwin Schulhoff are given slick new readings by violinist Mélanie Clapiès and cellist Yan Levionnois on their new album, Pierrots Lunaires. And on the album Spirit of the American Range, conductor Carlos Kalmar continues his impressive run of recordings with the Oregon Symphony. Together, they’re particularly good at bringing across the playful, boisterous modernism of Walter Piston’s “The Incredible Flutist Suite” (which includes a surreal, marching-band interruption in its eighth minute, punctuated by a barking dog).

On the bleeding-edge side of the contemporary scene, we have two (count ‘em, two!) new albums of loud n’ brawny orchestral pieces by Bang on a Can group cofounder Michael Gordon. (The LA Philharmonic takes on the towering “Dystopia,” while the Aurora Orchestra handles the companion work “Gotham.”) Put this together with new recordings that include chamber pieces by Paul Hindemith, piano items by Bela Bartok, and premiere recordings of works by Mexican composer Hilda Paredes, and, well, you’ve got a full month’s worth of vibrant classical music to discover! Click on the attached mix to get started, and refer back to this post, as well as our “composer tracklist” below, in order to keep track of who wrote each piece you’re hearing.

Track 1: Iannis Xenakis, “Dhipli Zyia”
Tracks 2-6: Bela Bartok, Szabadban (Out of Doors)
Track 7: Walter Piston, The Incredible Flutist Suite
Track 8: Ludwig van Beethoven, 12 Variations on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute

Tracks 9-10: Paul Hindemith, Oboe Sonata
Track 11: Michael Gordon, Dystopia
Track 12: Hilda Paredes, Papalote
Tracks 13-16: Erwin Schulhoff, Duo for Violin and Cello
Track 17: Beethoven, 12 Variations on “See the conquering hero comes” from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus
Tracks 18-22: David del Tredici, Facts of Life
Tracks 23-26: Aaron Copland, Symphony No. 3
Track 27: Beethoven, 7 Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute

Tracks 28-30: Paredes, Canciones lunaticas
Tracks 31-34: Ernst Krenek, 4 Pieces, Op. 193
Tracks 35-37: Gordon, Gotham
Tracks 38-41: Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 6

  1. Michael Gordon, Michael Gordon: Dystopia (Live)
  2. Oregon Symphony, Spirit of the American Range (Live)
  3. Andreas Bach, Bartók: Complete Works for Piano Solo, Vol. 1
  4. Mélanie Clapiès, Pierrots Lunaires: Violin & Cello Duos
  5. James Austin Smith, Distance
  6. Arditti String Quartet, Paredes: Cuerdas del destino
  7. Aurora Orchestra, Gordon: Gotham (Live)
  8. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7
  9. Matt Haimovitz, Beethoven: Sonatas & Variations for Cello & Fortepiano
  10. David Leisner, Facts of Life

By: Seth Colter Walls

Read at: Rhapsody

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