Matt Haimovitz

Cello music on literary themes—at the Tractor

Ned Rorem’s After Reading Shakespeare opens with a stabbing: a painfully intense (if it’s played right) wail, high in the cello’s range. It ends with a dying, poignantly climbing melody dissolving into the air like curling smoke. These two moments are the composer’s takes on King Lear and Othello, respectively, and the rest of the nine-movement suite draws inspiration from characters from Portia to Caliban, plus a couple sonnets. Cellist Matt Haimovitz, who’s sold out the Tractor Tavern in recent years with one concert of Bach and another of Bartok, Golijov, and Zep, is getting a bit daring with this show, playing Rorem’s 1980 suite alongside two he recently commissioned from Paul Moravec and Lewis Spratlan. Or maybe it’s not such a risk: those last two Tractor audiences have been more focused, more enthusiastic, and more willing to taste something new than the average chamber-music crowd. (Haimovitz is also playing, with KING-FM dj Sean Maclean reading the Shakespeare, at Borders Books & Music, 1501 Fourth Ave., Wed., Nov. 14 at 12:15 p.m.)

Thu., Nov. 15, 8 p.m., 2007

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