Monday, February 18, 2013

Leonidas Kavakos at Cal Performances

Sunday afternoon violinist Leonidas Kavakos played in an all-Beethoven recital in Hertz Hall for Cal Performances. Mr. Kavakos makes a distinctive, laser-like sound that is vibrant & high-energy. It sometimes sounds like every note is an open string. The D Major sonata was brisk & kinetic. There was a lot of variety in the phrases, some sounding clipped & others sustained. Mr. Kavakos likes to give syncopated notes a bit of a punch. He can play very fast, & the final movements of the Spring Sonata clicked by at a rapid pace. The slow movement felt hushed & suspended. The Kreutzer Sonata was vivid & popping. Mr. Kavakos sometimes released so much coiled energy that he jumped back at the end of a phrase. Even during extremely high passages in the variations movement, his sound was free & expansive.

Accompanist Enrico Pace played evenly & with a lot of control in the 1st two sonatas & was more pronounced & at times ferocious in the Kreutzer. The piano's opening chord of the 3rd movement was like a cannon boom. The audience was quiet & attentive & maintained a conscientious silence between movements. They gave the performers a standing ovation, & Mr. Kavakos & Mr. Pace came back for 2 brilliant Stravinsky encores. I wish the ovation hadn't dried up immediately after the 2nd encore. Mr. Kavakos wears glasses & has shoulder-length hair that threatens to cover this face. He did not look like his photo in the program. He wore a black Chinese tunic that had a band of red at the cuffs.

§ Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Enrico Pace, piano

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 12, No. 1
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24, "Spring"
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, "Kreutzer"

Stravinsky: Danse Russe from Petrushka Suite for violin & Piano
Stravinsky: Dithyrambe from Duo Concertant

Cal Performances
Sun, Feb 17, 3 pm
Hertz Hall

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