The sequel to his trail-blazing 50-State solo cello tour and recording, ANTHEM, released in 2003, FIGMENT is the latest evolution of Haimovitz s signature solo set, embracing the contemporary musical communities of his
two home countries, the US and Canada.
Inspired by centenarian composer Elliott Carter and his two Figments for solo cello, the program brings together a wide range of important new music for cello and electronics by leading and emerging North American composers.
From the Middle Eastern microtones of Gilles Tremblay s Threnody for Lebanon, to Ana Sokolovic s Balkan folk influenced Vez, from Serge Provost s cutting-edge Les Vertiges de S. for electronically-processed solo cello, to up
and coming composer/singer-songwriter Du Yun s San, a deconstruction of haunting ancient Chinese fragments.
Figment embraces the diversity of our collective experience. The program, which also includes music by Steven Stucky, Luna Pearl Woolf, and sample-artist Socalled, celebrates innovative North American composers who seek a renewed lyricism and epitomize a new era of hope and creativity in the face of challenging times.
In the 80s, a teenage Matt Haimovitz studied at Juilliard under the tutelage of Leonard Rose. In 2002, the Israeli-born cellist booked the first classical gig at New York s renowned punk sweat-hole CBGB s; sandwiched between bar bands on the bill, he played Bach. That should give you an idea of the sensibilities of a ferociously skilled player hoping to drag his instrument into the 21st century and hip rock clubs.
After cutting an album of Bach s Goldberg Variations, Haimovitz leaps boldly back to modernity with Figment. This collection of daring, unsettling solo cello work by young composers from around the globe centers around the titular piece by centenarian Elliott Carter. Fractured and full of contrast, Figment opens and sets the tone. Just to rankle the purists, a hip-hop DJ lays skittering beats and turntable scratches under the opening salvo.
The spellbinding 38-year-old makes the strings of his 1710 Matteo Goffriller whistle and rumble. The playing is recorded with rich texture; when he bows, you can feel it in your teeth. He summons a Balkan folk troupe with his fingertips when he plays pizzicato in Vez.
This is mostly a gloomy affair, filled with threnodies, but it s not all darkness and doom. Ambient electronics lend a celestial, floating sensation to apocalyptic sawing and shrill sustains in Les Vertiges de S. Built upon color, solitude and sensation, the record proves there s beauty to be found in a wasteland. --TimeOut Chicago