Video Exclusive: Matt Haimovitz ‘Bach Cello Suite No. 1’

by Stephanie Powell

In a Strings exclusive, Matt Haimovitz has released a music video from his forthcoming album, The Cello Suites According to Anna Magdalena (Pentatone), of the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. Set in the lush and enchanted gardens in Kauai’s National Tropical Botanical Garden, Haimovitz talks Bach, his cello, and the captivating beauty of the Moreton Bay fig tree backdrop. His album will be released on  October 9, 2015.

How many days did it take to shoot?
We did the shoot in one sunset. I had a performance that same evening in Waimea, Kauai, so we had some time restrictions!


What cello are you playing in the video?
It is a Bohemian 18th-century cello that I purchased at auction. It was the one time in my life I checked a cello with West Jet and they managed to lose the cello for a few days. It finally arrived in Kauai intact, just in time to perform around the island and make this video. I’m using a Baroque bow made by Cambridge bow maker David Hawthorne. [Matt plays his Matteo Gofriller cello set up with ox-gut strings for the Bach recording.]

What kind of tree is in the background?
We call it the Jurassic Tree because it was this very tree that was featured in the Jurassic Park movie! It is a Moreton Bay fig tree at the Allerton Gardens at the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Why did you decide to shoot a music video, and how did you select this particular piece to perform in the video?
I had thought about various videos for the Bach Suites and knew that Hawaii would be a spectacular setting. It was not until the day before the shoot, however, on a private tour of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, that I was overwhelmed by the combination of natural beauty and human imagination that instantly brought to life the essence of Bach’s music.

Are there more videos to come?
I loved making this video and there is more to come in the future. For the time being, I’m busy learning six new scores by the six composers I have commissioned for my Overtures to Bach!