Leonidas Kavakos & Enrico Pace : Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano Review
By: Elberton Cisnero
Leonidas Kavakos is a violinist and artist known for his virtuosity, superb musicianship and integrity of his interpretation of the classical repertoire. International recognition first came while Kavakos was still in his teens, winning the Sibelius Competition in 1985 and, three years later, the Paganini Competition. Kavakos now works with the world’s major orchestras and conductors – Vienna Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Budapest Festival, La Scala Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been invited as tour soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus/Chailly, Vienna Philharmonic/Chailly, and the Royal Concertgebouw/Jansons. In the 2012/13 season, he was the focus of the London Symphony Orchestra’s UBS Soundscapes LSO Artist Portrait as well as the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Artist-in-Residence. Kavakos is increasingly recognized as a conductor of considerable gifts and musicianship. He has worked as conductor/soloist with the Boston Symphony.
Kavakos is a committed chamber musician and recitalist and is a favored artist at the Verbier, Montreux-Vevey, Bad Kissingen and Edinburgh festivals and at the Salzburg Festival, where in August 2012, together with Enrico Pace, he played a complete cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas that was recorded by Bavarian Radio and broadcast by BR in the autumn of 2012 as part of a television documentary about the violinist.
Enrico Pace was born in Rimini, Italy. He studied piano with Franco Scala both at the Rossini Conservatory, Pesaro, where he graduated in Conducting and Composition, and later at the Accademia Pianistica Incontri col Maestro, Imola. Jacques De Tiège was a valued mentor. Winning the Utrecht International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in 1989 marked the beginning of his international career.
Recent and forthcoming highlights include(d) engagements with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Hungarian National Philharmonic, the Göteborg and London Symphony Orchestras, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and the Rheinische Philharmonie; the Beethoven Sonata cycle with Leonidas Kavakos in among others New York (Carnegie Hall), Athens, Florence, Milan, Amsterdam, Moscow and Tokyo and at the Salzburg Festival and the Beethovenfest Bonn, as well as further duo recitals in the USA, Europe and China; Bach Sonatas with Frank Peter Zimmermann in among others New York, Amsterdam, Zürich, Frankfurt, Bamberg and Japan; a performance at the Scala in Milan of Schubert’s Schwanengesang with Matthias Goerne; recitals with viola player Antoine Tamestit in Zürich, Frankfurt and Cologne; recitals with Akiko Suwanai in Japan; recitals with cellist Sung-Won Yang in Korea and Japan, and solo recitals in among others the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Herkulessaal in Munich.
Together the Greek violinist and Italian pianist come together for a stirring program of Beethoven’s duo sonatas titled Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano. Both exhibit control and virtuosity that transform the written page into a meaningful expression that is emotional and lively. The Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas are a monumental collection of movements with all the great hallmarks of Beethoven’s beloved compositional style. The technical third A Major sonata, op. 47 is a technical challenge that most violinists aspire to perform even adequately, much less master to the point of expressiveness.
“Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1: II. Adagio” is a prime example of the lyrical beauty Davakos brings to the melody. His phrasing and subtle touches of vibrato are brought to life with his warm tone and balance of articulations. Pace is sensitive and brings out the lyrical qualities of the percussive piano to match Kavakos’s playing. Together they make a powerful statement on this gorgeously written adagio.
Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano is a fascinating and superior reading of Beethoven. Each player brings a depth of musicianship through the cycle that is achieved by their deep connections to the works. The final op.96 sonata is excellent; the rare sense of joy is brought out in Beethoven’s writing. Throughout the collection, the duo’s concept and thoughtfulness sustains itself in a beautiful display of virtuosity and musicality.
Label: Sony Classical