S&H Recital review

Christian Tetzlaff (violin) & Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) Wigmore Hall 19 June 2001 (PGW)


Eager anticipation of this duo's reappearance at Wigmore Hall was fully rewarded. At QEH last year their recital threw out sparks at every moment. Tetzlaff 's body movements have become more restrained, but he still commands total attention. Leif Ove Andsnes, his partner, reacts imaginatively at every opportunity, nudging the music forward in Schubert's modest 1816 Sonata in D, which we used to know as a Sonatina, and which ignores all that Beethoven had done for the medium by then. Schumann's of 1851, Op 121, not that often played until fairly recently, came across with romantic fervour as a major work in the repertoire.

The second half was magical and truly amazing. Listed as comprising two works, Bartok No 2 (1922) and Ravel's sonata (completed slowly by 1927) were given performances of exceptional understanding, with the partners advancing into the limelight and receding in perfect accord. There were numerous details clarified along the way, and the Hungarian character of the first and the jazz of the other, with its Blues pizzicato as on a banjo and slithering slides, were both perfectly presented.

Then the inevitable encore, which the audience was insensitive enough to expect after a demanding full-length recital - and what an encore! They repeated from the 2000 recital Schubert's exhausting and notoriously unforgiving Rondo D 895, a real punisher which demands highest virtuosity and lays low most violinists who attempt it! Again Tetzlaff & Andsnes made it an exhilarating party piece and sent us home dazzled and replete.

The Tetzlaff /Andsnes Virgin Classics CD of Janacek, Debussy, Ravel and Nielsen is one of the best violin/piano duo CDs that I own.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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