Matt Haimovitz and Chris O'Riley are well known as expert musicians, fearless experimenters and super nice people. We invited them into the Primephonic office to perform an intimate recital and, lucky for you, we filmed it so you can enjoy too.
First up, Beethoven's Cello Sonata Op. 102 No. 1. Matt says of this piece: "When we recorded our album "Beethoven, Period" on period instruments it was a revelation to hear the true balance between piano and cello, and that the cello had to make room for the keyboard. This piece is a window into the late Beethoven style. He came out of a moment of great compositional and personal crisis were he was going round in circles in a way, revising Fidelio and other things, and actually wrote some not so great music in this period. But then, he emerged with this completely new language with the two sonatas for cello and piano."
Next, Matt and Chris performed their arrangement of Victor Tsoi's Kukushka. Matt says: "We wanted to record the Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich concertos for an album, but somehow we can never leave our projects alone – they always grow and we have ideas about new directions. We were interested in Russian pop music, so Chris asked a Russian cellist friend of his what they listen to in Russia and she sent us a dozen or so tunes to audition. One night I was going through these with my daughter on my lap – at that time she was six – and she wasn't that into it. But then we came to this song and she kept saying "Encore! Encore!", so I knew we had a hit – at least in the six year old market!"
The duo finished the performance with their take on the Russian all-girl punk band Pussy Riot. Chris explains: "In considering what pop repertoire to put on our album Troika, Matt was pretty insistent on getting a Pussy Riot song on there – which is sort of difficult, because there's a lot of noise and a lot of screaming involved. So this is, in fact, the song for which the band was imprisoned. The way in musically for us was that it begins with a Russian Orthodox hymn.