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A welcome return and a debut

Koerner Hall
11/08/2013 -  
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Sonata No. 25 in F Major, K. 377
Ernest Bloch: Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano, "Poème mystique"
Paul Hindemith: Sonata in E Major
Gabriel Fauré: Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Major, Op. 13
Franz Schubert: Rondo for Violin and Piano in B Minor, Op. 70, D. 895

Midori (violin), Ozgür Aydin (piano)

Midori(© Timothy Greenfield-Sanders)

It is a bit disconcerting to attend a violin recital by a big star and come away more impressed with the pianist. While Midori gave everything one could wish for in a wonderfully varied program, her collaborator, Ozgür Aydin, managed to add a welcome degree of sparkle and panache.

I have attended recitals with badly matched (non-)collaborators - and this most definitely was not the case here. Nor can Mr. Aydin stand accused of showboating at the expense of Midori. Right from the start it was clear that the two were in marvellous accord with respect to tempi and stylistic approach. Mozart’s Sonata No. 25 was presented as a vivid miniature mercifully without preciousness. Ernest Bloch’s Sonata No. 2 made for an invigorating contrast. It was composed in 1924 when Bloch had managed to work his way out of a post-Great War period of personal anguish to create this opus, subtitled “Poème mystique”. The duo expressed the work’s deep sense of transcendental hopefulness; it is quite the sight to see Midori bend her tiny body as she works through this vigorous piece.

After the interval we heard another 20th century piece, Paul Hindemith’s Sonata in E Major, composed in 1935 when he was under attack from the Nazi cultural authorities. One might expect a work expressing personal stress but Hindemith seemed bent on making a well-crafted purely musical statement with a hint of humour and more than a hint of optimism.

Gabriel Fauré’s Violin Sonata No. 1 was arguably the high point of the evening, with the liquid, limpid opening movement (Allegro molto) and the skittery filigree of the third, Allegro vivo. As in the Mozart, the unison between the two artists verged on the uncanny.

The delightful climax of the program was Schubert’s Rondo for Violin and Piano. The headlong romp (and, let's face it, party piece) fully lived up to its nickname Rondeau brillant.

Midori and Aydin performed two encore pieces: Antonín Dvorák’s Slavonic Dance Opus 72 No. 2 (properly soulful and wistful) and an arrangement of the buffoonish march from Sergei Prokofiev’s Love of Three Oranges.

This this was a welcome return here for Midori, who also gave a master class at the Royal Conservatory. It also turned out to be quite the auspicious local debut for Ozgür Aydin. It would be great to hear a solo recital from him.

Michael Johnson



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