Tuesday, November 13, 2007

After reading Shakespeare

Matt Haimovitz is in town this week for a series of performances. One of them free at the downtown Borders. He is joined by KING FM’s Sean MacLean. The other concert will occur at the Tractor a Ballard bar/club.

Unusual? Not for Haimovitz.  He's performed at the Tractor before and the exercise fits with the cellist's larger vision for classical music. 

After graduating from Harvard and ditching his DG contract (for whom he recorded a number of solo cello works by Ligeti, Sessions, Britten, and others) he began what amounted to an examination of the music industry and classical music performance.

As a result, Haimovitz began looking at non-standard repertoire and also began exploring non-traditional performance spaces. He also founded his own record label – Oxyngale – which he’s used to record and distribute everything from Bach to Osvaldo Golijov.

For his upcoming visit to Seattle he is bringing Ned Rorem’s After Reading Shakespeare with him.

Ned Rorem began the piece in 1979 at the urging of cellist Sharon Robinson. Though the piece was inspired as Rorem was re-reading Shakespeare, the titles don’t necessarily frame the music. They aren’t portraits. However, Rorem has noted that what the titles do provide is a cohesive narrative for the listener to more easily grasp the music.

The piece is comprised of nine movements, lasting for a total of about twenty minutes. Listeners get Lear, Caliban, Iago and Othello, and Remembrance of Things Past. Even though the music is not connected in any meaningful way to the titles, it is a work worth investigating. 

On Wednesday, If you get a chance, head on over to Borders during the lunch hour.  Or wait until Thursday, have a beer and listen to Haimovitz at the Tractor.   

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