Isthmus: My favorite concerts of 2009, in Madison and (slightly) beyond

December 30, 2009

Wines, bottles 05-11-2009

Stark, startling and challenging. Matt Haimovitz with Du Yun, Oct. 30, Café Carpe, Fort Atkinson
Music clubs come and go, but little Café Carpe has prospered for 24 years as a premier showcase for singer-songwriters and folksingers. (All praise to owners Bill Camplin and Kitty Welch!) But this was different — an evening of avant-garde classical music with

cellist Matt Haimovitz playing off Du Yun’s weird electronica.

No melodies were to be heard, and I can’t ever imagine playing this patternless music at home. (The stern and foreboding Elliott Carter was the only composer on the program I recognized.) But as performance music, it was brash, startling and as challenging as a slap in the face. I liked its audacity.

Haimovitz, an Israeli-born Canadian resident, is a powerfully important artist for classical music. Like precious few others, he’s building the audience by pushing the music out of the conservatory and into the clubs. In 2003, Haimovitz had the nerve to put on a solo show at the dark rock mecca the Annex, featuring solo works inspired by Hendrix and compositions by the out-there Lou Harrison and Osvaldo Golijov.

The funny thing is that Haimovitz is also a marvelous straight-ahead player. His impeccable string trio work with Douglas McNabney and Jonathan Crow in Mozart the Mason and their Goldberg Variations transcription were on heavy rotation in my house. The Union Theater, which has marvelous knack for booking young talent, should bring Matt Haimovitz back to Madison.

by Marc Eisen

View article at Isthmus

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