DALLAS MORNING NEWS

Dallas Symphony Orchestra – Beethoven Violin Concerto
[Hadelich] delivered as exquisite, as generously expressive a performance as you’ll hear anywhere. His 1723 “Ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivarius has an extraordinarily sweet but slender tone; Hadelich treats that as an asset, cultivating breathtaking pianissimos and finely polished passagework. He pinpointed high hushes with almost superhuman precision, but he also dispatched the Fritz Kreisler cadenzas with hardly a hint of effort. (September 25, 2014)

A great recital by Augustin Hadelich and Joyce Yang

2014 has gotten off to a fine start as far as classical music is concerned. Presented by Chamber Music International, two musicians not yet 30 displayed unassuming virtuosity and uncanny sophistication in a Friday night recital at the Dallas City Performance Hall.

The German violinist Augustin Hadelich has performed beautifully with both the Dallas and Fort Worth symphony orchestras. Pianist Joyce Yang, born in South Korea, has been an area favorite ever since taking second prize in the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Performing both together and singly, they offered a particularly enterprising program.

Right from the start, the Beethoven A major Sonata (Op. 30, No. 1) announced assets to be savored throughout the recital. In an age of so much “anything you can play, I can play louder,” Hadelich’s Stradivarius has a conspicuously smallish but sweetly refined tone. He never forces it, but instead concentrates on nuances at the lower end of the scale.

Yang played in kind, both musicians enlivening the music with rhetorical gestures that were never overdone: crisp accents and sudden hushes, subtle hesitations and lingerings, subtle pressings ahead to melodic and harmonic goals.

They certainly played the dramatic contrasts of the Janácek Sonata for all they were worth: alternations of anxious, angular music with lyrical musings that almost suggest Debussy. But they never forgot how much the music is assembled from small fragments heard again and again.

André Previn’s 1997 triptych Tango Song and Dance was a perfect closer, with jazz-inflected music alternately flashy and dreamily nostalgic.

[...] I’m normally allergic to violinistic showpieces, but Hadelich made Eugène Isaÿe’s E major Sonata (Op. 27, No. 7) almost as dramatically compelling as a movement from a Mahler symphony. He supplied brilliance aplenty, not as the point, but as the means to an immensely engaging and musically satisfying experience.

For an encore, Hadelich and Yang tossed off the “Hoedown” from Copland’s Rodeo with irresistible élan.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS - Scott Cantrell (January 2014)

Augustin Hadelich and Joyce Yang provide lively music-making at SMU

The young German violinist Augustin Hadelich has performed most impressively with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and he’s booked for the Dallas Symphony’s 2012-13 season. On Saturday night, thanks to Chamber Music International, he appeared in recital with pianist Joyce Yang, a local favorite since winning the silver medal in the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. In an imaginative program, at Southern Methodist University’s Caruth Auditorium, there wasn’t a note on automatic pilot.

Sonatas by Schumann (in A minor, Op. 105) and Beethoven (Kreutzer) proved provocative bookends. Each has a good deal of manic music, but also moments when time seems to stand still and no one’s quite sure what will happen next.

Hadelich and Yang certainly played up the contrasts, brilliantly fostering that illusion of spontaneity that marks the greatest musical performances. Hadelich’s apparently effortless technique allowed gossamer delicacy on the highest notes and sweetly singing melodies, as well as dazzling virtuosity. Ravel’s Gypsy-imitation Tzigane embraced rough-and-ready sounds as well as disembodied harmonics.

It was good to have a piece by the late Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, shamefully ignored around here. From Far Beyond Chrysanthemums and November Fog, from 1983, is a typically atmospheric eight minutes’ worth. Added-note piano chords suggestive of Messiaen set up the violin’s unhurried exploration of free-floating lines, high harmonics and scrawny near-the-bridge scrapings. The music doesn’t so much progress as suspend itself in time and space.

Hadelich and Yang gave a thoroughly persuasive performance. Throughout the recital, in fact, Yang was no “mere” accompanist, but a full-fledged partner with plenty of virtuosity and ideas of her own. In the two sonatas she never let us forget that the piano is at least as important as the violin, and that the two instruments alternate in the spotlight.

The encore was a ravishingly played Chopin nocturne, in an arrangement by Nathan Milstein.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS - Scott Cantrell (March 2012)