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Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 86: Christopher O’Riley & Matt Haimovitz Get Real With Period Instruments

Does playing classical music on period instruments really do anything for the music?


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Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O'Riley
(L-R) Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley. Photo by Sarah Scott. Courtesy of the artists.

When pianist and From the Top host Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz recorded a new album of Beethoven’s music, they decided to kick it old school: Chris played an original Broadwood fortepiano and Matt played a Goffriller cello with ox-gut strings. Why would these two artists – often recognized for their arrangements of Radiohead, for performing with young musicians, and for playing classical music in nightclubs – decide to play period instruments? Is there a true benefit to playing music on the instruments it was written for, or is this classical music nerdery? Learn the answers to these and so many other questions in this episode!

Audio production by Todd “Todd Rundgren” Hulslander with harshing of mellows by Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio.

Music in this episode:

(From Christopher O’Riley and Matt Haimovitz’s new CD, Beethoven, Period.)

  • Sonata for Pianoforte and Violoncello in F Major, Op. 5, No. 1. II Rondo. Allegro vivace
  • Sonata for Pianoforte and Violoncello in G Minor, Op. 5, No. 2. I Adagio sostenuto e espressivo.
  • Sonata for Pianoforte and Violoncello in A Major, Op. 69. 
  • I Allegro ma non tanto
  • III Allegro vivace

(From their Shuffle.Play.Listen. CD)

  • Arcade Fire: “Empty Room”
  • Radiohead: “Pyramid Song”

(From other places…)

  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57. Arthur Rubinstein.

For more about Christopher O’Riley, Matt Haimovitz, and their new CD:…thoven-period