HISTOIRE DU TANGO • Augustin Hadelich (vn); Pablo Sáinz Villegas (gtr) • AVIE 2280 (59:52)
PIAZZOLLA Histoire du Tango. FALLA(arr. Kochanski and Torrent) Canciones populares españolas. PAGANINI Sonata concertata, MS 2. MosesRead more Fantasy. SARASATE Zigeunerweisen
Augustin Hadelich, playing the 1723 Kiesewetter Stradivari, and Pablo Sáinz Villegas present a program of works for violin and guitar, only one of which (as Hadelich explains in his notes) appears in its original instrumentation. Ástor Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango has entered almost fully into the standard repertoire for violin and has provided the center for several recorded programs, now including this one. Listeners may feel that Hadelich sounds less intriguing in the first tango of the set, and less seductive in the third (“Nightclub 1960”)—although he tries, and, perhaps in the effort, produces plenty of heavy breathing—and less ... well, less dance-like, in the fourth than do Sara Chenal and Olivier Pelmoine (Duo Cordes et Âmes) in their collection for Skarbo (4089, which I “strongly if not urgently” recommended in Fanfare 33:5). The first of the five selections from Manuel de Falla’s Canciones populares españolas (El paño moruno), however, sounds as smolderingly Spanish as anyone could want, and Hadelich and Villegas endow the “Asturiana” that follows with a hushed intensity. If Hadelich doesn’t sound so elegant as did Nathan Milstein in the “Jota,” he still brings to it a splash of ethnic color. The duo’s sultry version of “Nana” sets up a reading of the “Polo” that’s almost touched with frenzy.
Hadelich and Villegas provide a less electrically charged, more salon-like, collaboration in Paganini’s Sonata concertata (an experiment in more equal-voiced writing for violin and guitar that Hadelich’s notes maintain Paganini didn’t pursue any further). Once again, many will feel the frequent heavy breaths to be intrusive—can this manner(ism) be as much a sign of the times as the predilection for Piazzolla? However that may be, the first movement sounds weightless (though not particularly buoyant) in the duo’s reading; and while the second turns darker, the shadows never acquire sharp edges as they pass through it. They play the brief finale with engaging spirit.
Paganini’s Moses Fantasy acquired a reputation for extreme difficulty—Paganini’s pupil Camillo Sivori used to place a single string in the middle of his fingerboard in order to make it playable. And, of course, stories abounded about Paganini himself cutting part way through his strings so that they’d break—all but the G-string—and he’d be left with only that string to play works like this (and the “Napoleon” Sonata). Hadelich hasn’t tuned up his G-string to B? as Paganini did, but he makes up for the brilliance he’s sacrificed by not doing so with a jaunty cockiness that renders the work perhaps equally appealing. And his intonation remains exceptionally pure—as do his timbres—throughout this exercise in the higher positions. Finally, Hadelich gives a reading of Pablo Sarasate’s most famous work, Zigeunerweisen, which the violinist claims to have played at the age of seven. Since gypsy music sounds more idiomatic with a cimbalom than with a piano (early on, Maurice Ravel called for a luthéal in Tzigane), the performance with guitar seems particularly convincing, and Hadelich endows the first section with a sense of improvisation that lifts the passages above the level of a studied exercise in ethnicity. Neither partner pushes the tempo of the last section forward, but it retains the zest of many quicker performances nonetheless (if not the electricity of Jascha Heifetz’s reading with John Barbirolli in 1937).
Avie’s release, with its somewhat cool but clearly defined recorded sound, should appeal principally to those who have followed Hadelich’s burgeoning career; but it should also provide an hour of entertainment to those who haven’t yet come to know his playing. Recommended.
Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20by Pablo de Sarasate Performer:
Augustin Hadelich (Violin),
Pablo Sáinz Villegas (Guitar)
Period: Romantic Written: 1878
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Wonderful AlbumOctober 27, 2014By Alexa P. (Sebastopol, CA)See All My Reviews"Quickly became one of my favorite albums. Spirited without being overwhelming. The two musicians listen and play well with each other."Report Abuse