Two of Schubert’s great masterpieces – as well as two of cellist Matt Haimovitz’s most personally significant recordings – are now remastered and rereleased in SACD surround sound on the PENTATONE Oxingale series – the fifth release since PENTATONE and Oxingale Records joined forces at the beginning of 2015. For this 2001 recording of Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor, D. 821, Haimovitz is joined by renowned pianist Itamar Golan. The Sonata is paired with Schubert’s final and most revered chamber work, the String Quintet in C Major, D956, in a 2003 recording by Haimovitz and the Miró Quartet. These recorded performances have been praised by The Strad as “deeply considered and eloquent” and by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “smart, fun, loving, and beautifully recorded.”
The Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor was written for a six stringed instrument similar to the viola da gamba, which was invented in 1823 but soon fell into oblivion. Haimovitz recalls how he once stumbled upon an arpeggione in a Parisian instrument shop and gave it a try: “The sound that emerged from the slender frame between my legs was a heaving, animal rasp akin to the sound of cat claws scraping against sandpaper! It is no wonder the instrument faded into obscurity.” Happily, Schubert’s virtuosic song cycle-without-words is heard today in the transcription for cello. “The composer spins a narrative at once autumnal and introspective, yet full of bohemian life,” says Haimovitz. Haimovitz and Golan have enjoyed a close and long collaboration – they were in fact born just a few blocks away from each other in Bat-Yam, Israel – a highlight of which was a tour throughout Europe with violinist Shlomo Mintz.
Finished only a few months before his untimely death in 1828, Schubert’s String Quintet in C major is set for the unusual combination of string quartet plus a second cello. Considered one of the greatest masterpieces in the chamber music repertoire, the work also has a special significance in Haimovitz’s career: he played the Quintet for his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of thirteen. In extraordinary circumstances, he was asked by his teacher, the legendary cellist Leonard Rose, to replace him at the last minute and perform the work with none other than Isaac Stern, Shlomo Mintz, Pinchas Zukerman, and Mstislav Rostropovich. Adding to the intensity of the occasion, “Slava” – one of Haimovitz’s great cello idols – decided that he wanted to switch to the second cello part the day before the concert, leaving the young cellist one all-nighter to study the first cello part. Twenty years later, Haimovitz joins an established quartet, the Miró, for this incredible music – a work they have also played together in both conventional and alternative venues.
Matt Haimovitz is praised by The New York Times as a “ferociously talented cellist who brings his megawatt sound and uncommon expressive gifts to a vast variety of styles” and by The New Yorker as “remarkable virtuoso” who “never turns in a predictable performance.” A highlight of this past season – which included performances in New York, Madrid, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Montreal – was the release of The Cello Suites According to Anna Magdalena, for the PENTATONE Oxingale series, Haimovitz’s profound new interpretation of the Bach Suites, inspired and informed by an authoritative manuscript by Anna Magdalena, Bach’s second wife. Gramophone, says: “Those who want to be challenged without compromising tone or tuning, both of which are impeccable here, should look no further,” and ICI Musique concurs, “Matt Haimovitz has made us well aware that this music is alive, breathes, and refuses to be walled up in a stylistic protective shell. And that is the greatest achievement of this exceptional musician.” The culmination of Haimovitz’s re-immersion in the Bach suites is Overtures to Bach: six newly- commissioned works to anticipate and reflect each of the suites, by Philip Glass, Du Yun, Vijay Iyer, Roberto Sierra, David Sanford, and Luna Pearl Woolf. Overtures to Bach, on the PENTATONE Oxingale series, will be released internationally this August.
Itamar Golan has established himself as a chamber musician in high demand, paired with the virtuoso Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov, as well as Barbara Hendricks, Shlomo Mintz, Mischa Maisky, Matt Haimovitz, Tabea Zimmermann, Ida Haendel, and Julian Rachlin, among others. He performs as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic under conductor Zubin Mehta. Golan is professor of chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire.
The Miró Quartet is consistently praised for their deeply musical interpretations, exciting performances, and thoughtful programming. Each season, the Quartet performs throughout the world on the most prestigious concert stages, garnering accolades from critics and audiences alike. Formed in 1995, the Miró Quartet took first prizes at several national and international competitions including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. In 2005, it became the first ensemble ever to be awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant. The Quartet has served as the quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music since 2003. The Quartet’s two most recent recordings also feature music by Schubert: Schubert Interrupted and Transcendence.
THIS SUMMER: Matt Haimovitz will launch the album Overtures to Bach in a series of venues in Berlin in August. He will be in residence at the new Tippet Rise Art Center& Festival in Montana in July, where his performances will include the Bach Cello Suites paired with the new Overtures, an all-Russian recital program with pianist Christopher O’Riley, and the Schubert Quintet in C with the Dover String Quartet. He will also appear in the UK for a three-concert tour with the British trio VOICE in early August, in addition to performances in Edmonton, Alberta, Burlington, Vermont, and elsewhere. For a complete schedule please see: