REVIEW: Dresden Music Festival 2017, Part I
Leoš Janácek’s Romance and Dumka for Violin and Piano is likewise lyrical, an early work by the composer closer in feel to romantic Brahms than spiky Bartok. It was a perfect work for Yang’s sensibility at this stage of his career, sweetly rendered by him and Hoppe.
The rest of the program consisted of four works penned or inspired by violinist Niccolò Paganini, whose flashy pyrotechnics mesmerized European audiences in the early nineteenth century. (Franz Liszt was to emulate similar flash on the piano and the two set in motion the era of the virtuoso instrumentalist.) Heard as almost diabolical displays by audiences of that era, in Yang’s interpretations these works seemed paragons of early romantic expression. In that positive sense, they resurrected the artistic and even spiritual reputation of a composer too often dismissed as a musical freak show.
Yang sailed through the high wattage of three violin-piano caprices on Paganini themes by Karol Szmanowski; a potpourri compilation, Paganiniana, by violinist Nathan Milstein; Paganini’s own Cantabile for Violin and Piano; and the latter’s potpourri assemblage (arranged by Fritz Kreisler) of themes from Rossini’s Cenerentola. Yang’s preternatural technical facility, delivered in Zen-like serenity, revealed extraordinary mastery. The virtuoso display made clear why Yang was chosen First Prize winner of the 2015 Paganini Competition in Genoa, the first such award that competition had bestowed in nine years.
After the fireworks, Yang glided off the stage as unruffled as if he had he had been in silent meditation the previous two hours. A perspiring Hoppe, who had also performed magnificently in the demanding pieces, seemed relieved to be done.
Coming up in the next post, Dresden Part II explores Beethoven's Eroica at the Frauenkirche church.---ooo---
Dresdener Musikfestspiele, 40 Jubiläum 18 May to 18 June, 2017
Recital: violinist In Mo Yang and pianist Thomas Hoppe
Schloss Wackerbarth (Radebeul), June 7, 8pm
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre
Festspielhaus Hellerau, June 9, 8pm