Edinburgh International Festival music review: Leonidas Kavakos/Yuja Wang, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Carol Main.
Given that they have recently released a CD of Brahms’s violin sonatas, Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang came across as perplexingly mismatched in their recital of the same music yesterday morning at the Queen’s Hall.
It is, however, the only chamber music collaboration mentioned in Wang’s impressive CV, which otherwise lists her solo and concerto work with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. Necessitating different skills, chamber music may not yet be quite her forte.
Applying different stylistic approaches as a duo, Kavakos brought an appealing and direct emotional vibrancy to the wealth of melody in each of the three sonatas, while Wang’s Brahms was more of a wistful enigma. Sonata No 2 particularly missed a sense of dialogue between the two instruments, although Kavakos’s tone blossomed out with sweeter singing from the violin and the pair of them danced along on light feet in the middle movement.
Wang’s interval change of dress from thigh-revealing black to back-baring pillar-box red didn’t bring a change to the tendency to perform as individuals for Sonata No 3.
Nonetheless there were some powerful moments of tender passion from Kavakos and delightfully flickering passages from the piano.
Published in The Scotsman on 27 August 2015
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