Hadelich and Sáinz Villegas Combine Serious Depth with Uninhibited Fun


Falla, Rodrigo, Palomo, Dyens, Piazzolla, Sarasate, Paganini: Augustin Hadelich (violin), Pablo Sáinz Villegas (guitar), Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, 10.11.2016. (BJ)

Falla – Five songs from Siete canciones populares españolas (arr. Paul Kochanski & Jaume Torrent)
Rodrigo – Invocación y danza (Homenaje a Manuel de Falla) for guitar
Palomo – Fantasy on German Folk Songs (world premiere)
Ysaÿe – Sonata in E major for solo violin, Op.27 No.6
Dyens – Tango en skaï for guitar
Piazzolla – Histoire du tango
Sarasate – Romanza Andaluza, Op.22 (arr. Hadelich & Sáinz Villegas)
Paganini – Mosè-Fantasia on the G string (arr. Hadelich & Sáinz Villegas)

Music for violin and guitar is not a segment of repertoire with which I can claim much experience, but this Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital spotlighted it in the most delightful manner imaginable. The two young instrumentalists clearly enjoy a wonderfully spontaneous rapport, which translated itself into equally compelling communication with the audience, and the music, including a couple of the performers’ own arrangements, was brilliantly played and, with scarcely any exception, in itself rewarding and often great fun.

Just last February I had occasion to admire Augustin Hadelich for the superbly poised and noble performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. His command of this program’s very different scale and idiom—or rather, idioms—served as dazzling evidence of his stylistic range, and the technique, as on that earlier occasion and in a number of chamber performances I have heard by him, was immaculate. Seven years older than Hadelich’s 32, Pablo Sáinz Villegas is a guitarist I had not heard before, but one that I should dearly love to hear again and often. He made his instrument speak in often startlingly vivid strains, and in everything he did there was an impeccable sense of textual fidelity allied with imagination.

The evening’s world premiere was of a folk-song fantasy by the Spanish composer Lorenzo Palomo (born 1938) which, skillfully though it was put together, I found the least rewarding piece on the program. In contrast, The irreverent Tango en skaï by the French guitarist Roland Dyens, who died last month at the age of 61, might not inappropriately be termed a gas: it lampoons conventional views of the gauchos of Argentina and Brazil with gaudy abandon, and Sáinz Villegas played it up a storm.

More serious pleasures were to be enjoyed in the Falla, Rodrigo, Ysaÿe, Sarasate, and Paganini pieces, and in Astor Piazzolla’s at once compendious, touching, and entertaining History of the Tango. But with their encore the players took us to the different world of Django Reinhardt, with an uninhibitedly exhilarating account of the celebrated Belgian-born guitarist’s J’attendrai Swing, and I doubt whether many members of the audience could have gone home in other than high spirits.

Bernard Jacobson

Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra at St John’s Smith Square’s 2017 Christmas Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H