Press Room

Haimovitz plays Kurtág last minute; Glass tour and “Akoka” release ahead (April 1)

Matt Haimovitz – whose playing has been praised for its “richness and urgency” by the San Francisco Chronicle – stepped in at the last minute to perform György Kurtág’s Double Concerto last week at Miami’s New World Center with pianist Hermann Kretzschmar and Ensemble Modern under Reinbert de Leeuw. Haimovitz had played various Kurtág pieces over the years, but this was his first time with the Double Concerto, which he took on with just a few days’ notice. South Florida Classical Review singled out the cellist’s performance: “Particularly captivating was Haimovitz’s smeary detuned and retuned cello.” Haimovitz also returned to some signature pieces, Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello, performing the full cycle last Friday at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. The Washington Post declared that he presented these iconic works in “refreshing old-meets-new light.” Later in the year, the cellist will go into the studio to set down a new recording of the six Bach suites for Oxingale Records. Another exciting recording project, a period-instrument traversal of Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas with keyboardist Christopher O’Riley, will see release this fall. For a Feb. 7-9 run, Haimovitz joins the Minnesota Sinfonietta to perform Bloch’s Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque. On April 1, Oxingale releases its second collaborative Haimovitz recording of the season, Akoka, which the cellist created in league with klezmer clarinetist and composer David Krakauer. The album includes the title work by Krakauer, Messiaen’s great Quartet for the End of Time and a remix of the Messiaen by electronica artist Socalled. Haimovitz and Krakauer will celebrate the release of Akoka in concert at the University of Arizona on Feb. 27, with another Akoka-themed performance on April 5 in Davis, CA. A highlight of Haimovitz’s spring will be his European premiere of Philip Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi” on April 9 in Switzerland, followed by a UK tour of the work. The Cincinnati Enquirer described his U.S. premiere of the Glass concerto last year as “deeply beautiful.”
In September, Oxingale released the multimedia storybook Angel Heart, a collaboration among Haimovitz, children’s author Cornelia Funke, composer Luna Pearl Woolf and soprano Lisa Delan that also occasioned performances at Carnegie Hall and for Cal Performances in Berkeley. The San Francisco Chronicle singled out Haimovitz’s playing as “inventive and arresting.” On April 1, Oxingale will release Akoka, an album revolving around Olivier Messiaen’s ever-moving Quartet for the End of Time. Haimovitz began developing a program involving Messiaen’s work – which the French composer famously composed in a Nazi prison camp – with clarinetist-composer David Krakauer at the Banff Centre in Canada in 2007. Krakauer – a virtuoso of the klezmer style as well as a composer and arranger of works for the Kronos Quartet, among many others – conceived an improvisatory piece named for Henri Akoka, the Jewish clarinetist who performed in the 1941 premiere of Messiaen’s work in the prison camp. Krakauer also joins Haimovitz, violinist Jonathan Crow and pianist Geoffrey Burleson for the performance of Quartet for the End of Time. The album’s other piece is a remix of the Messiaen work by the sound artist Socalled.
About the new album’s program, Haimovitz says: “To focus on Akoka’s story is to bring out the human aspect of Messiaen’s composition as seen through the eyes of one individual caught up in terrifying events beyond his control. The Messiaen quartet is bookmarked between the two new works in a way that lifts the piece out of the polite confines of a normal chamber music performance.”
European Premiere of Glass’s “Naqoyqatsi” Concerto
Last spring saw the Orange Mountain Music release of Haimovitz’s recording of Philip Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi,” with Dennis Russell Davies and the Cincinnati Symphony. The recording was a WQXR “Album of the Week,” with the reviewer stating: “This dark score gives us Glass’s late style at its best. Weird melodic modes kink around sharp harmonic corners; the solo cello gets moments of unsettling loveliness and spectacular virtuosity.” Gramophone magazine highlighted Haimovitz’s solo contribution, praising his playing as “intensely sensitive and perfectly poised.” On April 9, Haimovitz will give the European premiere of the “Naqoyqatsi” Concerto with Dennis Russell Davies in Basel, Switzerland; a tour of the UK follows, including four concerts at Cadogan Hall in London (April 23-30).
New Beethoven Recording
Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley went to Skywalker Ranch in California to record the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas, with Grammy-winners David Frost and Richard King producing and engineering. O’Riley – Haimovitz’s partner for the recent hit album Shuffle.Play.Listen – played a gorgeous 1823 Broadwood fortepiano, while the cellist changed the headpiece on his 1710 Goffriller and used gut strings. The fall release of the Beethoven set will be followed by a European tour, including a performance at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany.
New Bach Recording
Haimovitz first recorded Bach’s six Suites for Solo Cello in 2000. The release launched Oxingale Records and was accompanied by the cellist’s groundbreaking tour of cafés and rock clubs, a tack taken by many other classical performers since. Later this year, he will revisit the Bach in the studio for a special 2015 release as a multi-CD set and a Blu-ray/DVD. Haimovitz’s latest exploration of these sublime works reflects his deepening intimacy with the music, the manuscripts and the role of Bach’s Suites in the development of the cello as a solo instrument. The Blu-ray/DVD will include a performance video and a documentary. In addition to the recording of the Bach, the project will include newly commissioned “overtures” to the works by such composers as Philip Glass and Wolfgang Rihm.
Of his recent performance of solo Bach in DC, the Washington Post had this to say: “Haimovitz teased out the intricate colors, textures and timbres on his 1710 Matteo Goffriller cello, strung with metal strings… The instrument’s resonant character served well the Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007, with Haimovitz trailing unfettered lyricism throughout the six movements. If the first suite revealed joyous wonder, then the Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008, was its antithesis, with unspeakable grief and grit underpinning the lines that Haimovitz created. In his remarks, the cellist noted that Bach had written the composition following the deaths of his first wife and one of their children. That sense of loss permeated Haimovitz’s interpretation, yielding an elegiac prelude, a furious courante and a resigned sarabande.
“For all the musical liberties he took in the first two suites, Haimovitz restrained from using rubato and swells in the Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 1009, and instead employed pure baroque styling. The resulting tempos, terraced dynamics and adornments all served to highlight Bach’s compositional genius.”
Matt Haimovitz: Winter/Spring 2014    
Feb 7         
Minneapolis, MN
Location TBA
Minnesota Sinfonietta
Bloch: Schelomo
Feb 8            
Minneapolis, MN
Temple of Aaron
Minnesota Sinfonietta
Bloch: Schelomo
Feb 9
Minneapolis, MN
Temple Israel Minneapolis
Minnesota Sinfonietta
Bloch: Schelomo
Feb 27
Tucson, AZ
University of Arizona
Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time
Brahms: Clarinet Trio
Schiff: Gimpel the Fool Suite
David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz & Friends
March 7
Kingston, ON
The Grand Theatre
With Christopher O’Riley, piano
March 11
Akron, OH
Tuesday Musical
Program TBA
With A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra
March 31
Amherst, MA
University of Massachusetts
With Christopher O’Riley, piano
April 5
Davis, CA
Mondavi Center
Akoka: The End of Time
Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time
David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, Socalled & Friends
April 9
Basel, Switzerland
Philip Glass: Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi” (European Premiere)
Basel Symphony Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies
April 23, 24, 28, 30
London, UK
Cadogan Hall
Philip Glass: Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi”
Basel Symphony Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies
April 25
Basingstoke, UK
The Anvil
Philip Glass: Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi”
Basel Symphony Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies
April 27
Cambridge, UK
The Corn Exchange
Philip Glass: Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi”
Basel Symphony Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies
April 29
Cardiff, UK
St. David’s Hall
Philip Glass: Cello Concerto No. 2, “Naqoyqatsi”
Basel Symphony Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies
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© 21C Media Group, January 2014

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