Augustin Hadelich Finds Nobility and Classical Poise in Brahms

11/02/2016

Barber, Brahms, and Dvořák: Augustin Hadelich (violin), Philadelphia Orchestra, Andrés Orozco-Estrada (conductor), Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, 6.2.2016 (BJ)

Barber: Overture, The School for Scandal
Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

It is perhaps an unexpected term to apply to a violinist only 31 years old, but the word that came insistently to mind while Augustin Hadelich was playing Brahms’s Violin Concerto was “authority.” Among the remarkably populous ranks of fine violinists now before the public, there may be a few who project a more immediate frisson of charm and sparkle, but I cannot think of one who exceeds the sheer seriousness and dedication—the sense that the music is sacred—that shone forth from Hadelich’s observant phrasing and luminous tone, to say nothing of his magisterial technique and dignified yet communicative platform manner.

For an encore, his choice of Paganini’s whirlwind Caprice No. 5 may on superficial consideration have seemed a touch frivolous, but I found it intelligent: it would surely be impossible to match the nobility and classical poise of the Brahms concerto with a bonne bouche in a similarly lofty vein, so it makes sense to go in a quite different direction. The orchestra, meanwhile, had supported the soloist in exemplary fashion under guest conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada, who in the concerto wisely toned down the visually distracting choreography with which he had danced his way through a nevertheless somewhat heavy-handed account of Samuel Barber’s School for Scandal overture. The Philadelphia Orchestra players are so professionally skilled that they managed to navigate the rather awkward path thus created well enough, but they would probably have had an easier time of it without all the swaying and the superfluous left-hand gestures they were faced with.

But I don’t want to place too much stress on that aspect of Maestro Orozco-Estrada’s work. He might well echo Leonard Bernstein’s disarming confession that, while he sympathized with concert-goers distracted and upset by his physical gyrations, there was simply no other way he could conduct the music—and himself—when he was on the podium. And the results Orozco-Estrada obtained, whatever the means he used to achieve them, were excellent both in the concerto and in the symphony that completed the program.

No. 6 is my own favorite among Dvořák’s symphonies, but I acknowledge that No. 7 is probably the greatest. This performance fully realized its stature, both in the dramatic outer movements and in the richly romantic Poco adagio. It made a worthy conclusion to an evening highlighted also by warm string tone in both major pieces, some superb work from the woodwinds—including associate principal Peter Smith’s eloquent oboe solo in Brahms’s slow movement—and crisp timpani playing by Angela Zator Nelson in the concerto and Don Liuzzi in the symphony.

Bernard Jacobson

Print Friendly

Comments

Comments

  1. Not having myself heard this violinist, I’m told by colleagues that he exhibits these very qualities for which he is here extolled by Mr. Jacobson, and which I prize as well.

    As for flapping conductors, just the ticket for an audience that listens with its eyes.

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 BBC NOW in Cardiff and Swansea __________________________________
  • NEW! The Twelfth English Music Festival Coming Soon in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum in June __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018/19 Birmingham Classical Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe Star in The King and I at the London Palladium __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 BBC Proms __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) 2018 Celebrates its Eighth Year __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Chess at the London Coliseum from 26 April for 5 Weeks __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! RAFAL BLECHACZ IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! The London Orchestra Project’s Metamorphosen on 27 May at LSO St Luke’s __________________________________
  • NEW! MARKUS POSCHNER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! A First Charity Classical Music Concert at Finchcocks on 27 May __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! Newly Discovered Song by Alma Mahler to be Performed in Oxford and Newbury __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month