Notes and Editorial Reviews
Augustin Hadelich (vn)
AVIE 2180 (64:09)
Solo Violin Sonata.
Caprices: No. 4; No. 9; No. 21.
Solo Violin Sonatas: No. 3,
Solo Violin Sonata
From his first sharply broken chords in Bartók’s Solo Sonata, it’s clear that Augustin Hadelich, winner of the 2006 Indianapolis Violin Competition (and therefore playing Josef Gingold’s 1683 Stradivari), takes no prisoners in this thorny work. I’ve pointed out before that, unlike Yehudi Menuhin, many violinists, such as Viktoria Mullova (Philips 420948, 12:4), take the Sonata as an opportunity to juggle jagged fragments. Despite Hadelich’s relative relaxation in the first movement’s reflective sections, he seems to be one of those violinists. He possesses the technical resources for a brilliantly incisive reading rather than a grinding slog through the dissonances; the resulting sharpness of outline seems preternaturally clear. The engineers must have placed the microphones close enough, at least, to capture heavy breathing. (I’ve never heard heavy breathing in a recital hall, no matter how intimate, and I don’t suppose I really want to.) He takes a similar tack in the Fuga, cutting through complexities with machete-like slashes and thrusts; the pizzicato statements ring out with irresistible authority, and he punches out the last two notes after a highly dramatic pause. The point of relaxation this time comes later, after the Fuga, in the Melodia, to which he brings a mixture of melting warmth and mysterious ambiguity. That sense of mystery also pervades opening tremolos in the last movement. If the Sonata as a whole doesn’t sound particularly ethnic in this performance, Hadelich clarifies its rhetoric while making no obvious attempt to file its edges.
Hadelich identifies Paganini’s Fourth Caprice as the “most beautiful,” and, whatever the truth of this judgment, he surely plays it as though he means it; nevertheless, it’s somewhat surprising to hear the jumps from one register to another in the opening section played with such determination, especially with performances still vivid in memory in which Ricci and Rabin rushed through these passages headlong (Hadelich takes 7:18 for this Caprice, while Ricci took 5:59 in 1947 and Rabin took 6:22). The Ninth Caprice makes a similar impression, as does the Presto of the 21st Caprice. The opening Amoroso of that Caprice and Ysaÿe’s Third Sonata seem less flowing than Hadelich’s description of Ysaÿe’s work, though the first movement, “L’Aurore,” of the Fifth Sonata sounds similar in Hadelich’s reading to Ricci’s, even though Hadelich breaks the chords more aggressively (!) and doesn’t mount in such triumph to the summit; his second movement sounds comparatively disjointed, at least after the first theme.
Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Solo Violin Sonata fills its nine-odd minutes with relatively uncompromising music that sounds particularly abstract after Ysaÿe’s rhapsodic outpourings (even in the second movement, “Rhapsodie”). But alternations of
and abrupt changes of tempo and dynamics give the listener a great deal upon which to take hold. Hadelich suggests that Zimmermann had been influenced by Bartók’s Sonata; this one, offering offers fewer moments of repose, still runs a gamut of effects that might loosely be called emotional. And the Toccata recalls, intentionally or not, specific figures in Bartók’s work. Hadelich, once again, plays with stunning clarity and virtuosity, the latter most notably in the last movement, Toccata, which brings the recital to a brilliant conclusion.
While collectors may wish to go elsewhere for any of the individual composers, Hadelich’s readings, tied together by a common approach, should still be worth consideration as a whole. Recommended.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
Sonata for Violin solo, Sz 117 by Béla Bartók
Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1944; USA
Length: 25 Minutes 2 Secs.
Sonata for Violin solo by Bernd Alois Zimmermann
Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1951; Germany
Length: 9 Minutes 12 Secs.
Sonata for Violin Sz. 117: Tempo di ciaccona
Sonata for Violin Sz. 117: Fuga: Risoluto, non troppo vivo
Sonata for Violin Sz. 117: Melodia: Adagio
Sonata for Violin Sz. 117: Presto
Caprice No. 4 in C Minor: Maestoso
Caprice No. 9 in E Major: Allegretto
Caprice No. 21 in A Major: Amoroso - Presto
Sonata No. 3 in D Minor for Solo Violin Op. 27/3 "Ballade"
Sonata No. 5 in G Major for Solo Violin Op. 27/5: I. L'aurore : Lento assai
Sonata No. 5 in G Major for Solo Violin Op. 27/5: II. Danse rustique: Allegro giocoso molto moderato
Sonata for Solo Violin: I. Präludium
Sonata for Solo Violin: II. Rhapsodie
Sonata for Solo Violin: III. Toccata
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