Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich is one of the most impressive musicians of his generation. Pianist Joyce Yang, youngest ever medalist of the Van Cliburn Competition, is a consistently electrifying presence on stage. Together these young artists produce a plethora of pyrotechnics and an abundance of musical imagination. This unique recital program pairs two 19th-century repertory staples – Sonatas by Franck and Schumann – with 20th-century fare by Kurtág and Previn, a combination Augustin and Joyce have performed to widespread acclaim in their frequent joint performances.
This is an exceptional disc. Exceptional both for the music Johannes Brahms’ three violin sonatas contain some of his most lovely writing and the performance French violinist Augustin Dumay and Portuguese pianist Maria Pires project a strong interpretive vision. The interpretation is more lyrical and thoughtful than typical, with somewhat slow tempi generally. This is married to exquisite – and I mean, exquisite – technique from both Pires and Dumay as well as an outstanding sound engineering job from DG. The excellence of this CD is comprehensive.
Structural weakness precluded Grieg's violin sonatas from being regarded as masterpieces. For instance, contrasting themes often jump from one to another without smooth transition. Yet it would be a most remorseful thing to dismiss these pieces as second-rate or mediocre, for they are among the most palatable dishes of violin music. The enchanting melodies are all of captivating beauty, and the essentially light-hearted music is in turn passionate, expressive, bittersweet, exuberant, and vigorous.