The Los Angeles Philharmonic's program on January 10, 11, 12 was a sure-fire, restorative tonic: Beethoven’s roaring Egmont overture ignited the torch, next carried by his stirring Violin Concerto in D, and finally the crowd-pleasing Dvořák Ninth Symphony, seemingly programmed for cheers. Edo de Waart conducted.
What rarified the performance was violinist Augustin Hadelich’s ineffable rendering of the Violin Concerto. The Larghetto was sonorous, exquisite in the highest registers that turned the sound fragrant. He embodied phrases with pure grace, breathing whole worlds into seconds of sound.
Hadelich’s adept fingering can strike at blistering speeds, threatening to ignite the strings. The Rondo was not just lively, but appropriately frisky in ways that clearly delighted the 29-year-old soloist.
Stradivari of choice
Playing the Brahms Double Concerto, Hadelich made his Carnegie Hall orchestral debut in January 2008. Hadelich plays the “Ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivari violin, which dates to 1723, on loan through an arrangement with the Stradivari Society of Chicago. He had previously played the Stradivari of Josef Gingold, which dates to 1683, and loaned after winning the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 2006.
The Philharmonic was in usual adroit form, with flawless passages voiced and coaxed to brilliance by de Waart. Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony, popularly called the New World, was revelatory in the elegant highlighting of winds and decisive attacks.
Especially touching was Hadelich’s gesture following the Violin Concerto. He walked to the conductor stand, reached up, and warmly embraced de Waart – exemplifying the inexpressible bonds such music making engenders.
Nathan Cole, who joined the LA Phil in 2011, was Concertmaster for the Beethoven works, and Martin Chalifour served as Concertmaster for Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony. Chalifour began his tenure as Principal Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1995.