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Flying Solo / Augustin Hadelich

Release Date: 10/13/2009 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2180   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Béla BartókNiccolň PaganiniEugčne Ysa˙eBernd Alois Zimmermann
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FLYING SOLO Augustin Hadelich (vn) AVIE 2180 (64:09)

BARTÓK Solo Violin Sonata. PAGANINI Caprices: No. 4; No. 9; No. 21. YSAźE Solo Violin Sonatas: No. 3, “Ballade”; No. 5. ZIMMERMANN Solo Violin Sonata

Read more /> 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 pizzicato and arco 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
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Violin solo, Sz 117 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Length: 25 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 4 in C minor by Niccolň Paganini
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 9 in E major "La chasse" by Niccolň Paganini
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 21 in A major by Niccolň Paganini
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Sonatas (6) for Violin solo, Op. 27: no 3 in D minor "Ballade" by Eugčne Ysa˙e
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1924; Belgium 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Sonatas (6) for Violin solo, Op. 27: no 5 in G major by Eugčne Ysa˙e
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1924; Belgium 
Length: 9 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Sonata for Violin solo by Bernd Alois Zimmermann
Performer:  Augustin Hadelich (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 12 Secs. 

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