LALO Symphonie espagnole TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto,
Two violin concertos – Tchaikovsky’s and Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole – show very different sides of Augustin Hadelich. Recorded in concerts with the London Philharmonic, they demonstrate wide variation in tone and character.
Hadelich’s Tchaikovsky is lean, neither as rich or muscular as Vadim Repin, nor as warm as Lisa Batiashvili on her recent DG account. The first movement highlights the lyrical cantabile qualities of his playing, with superfine pianissimos in what feels a slightly ruminative cadenza, especially when compared with the dramatic impetus in Batiashvili’s, although to my ears her pregnant pauses sound mannered on repeated listening. Hadelich’s mood is rather introverted, lending a tender fragility to his soliloquies. Speeds are swift, though, which is no great surprise with Vasily Petrenko on the podium, injecting excitement to proceedings where some might feel Daniel Barenboim sucks it away with his exaggerated tempo changes. Petrenko allows no stodge to clog the orchestral arteries and he builds up a terrific head of steam in the coda. The Canzonetta is fluid, but Hadelich appears afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, a feeling confirmed by the finale, which lacks the cossack fire that sets Repin’s account aflame.
Where Hadelich’s Tchaikovsky is a touch polite, his Lalo (recorded a year earlier) bursts with character. There is plenty of beef here, both in the violin tone and in the LPO’s partnering, Omer Meir Wellber drawing out Spanish fire and stamping heels from this colourful – and strangely neglected – score. Hadelich exudes bravado in the terrific Rondo finale, almost a match for Maxim Vengerov or Renaud Capuçon. Applause is retained after the Tchaikovsky, but not the Lalo – which arguably deserves it more.