Regional Music Preview: TANGO SONG AND DANCE (Augustin Hadelich, Joyce Yang and Pablo Sainz-Villegas in La Jolla and Irvine)

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by Tony Frankel on March 31, 2016

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


Coming up on April 15 and 16, 2016, in Irvine and La Jolla, acclaimed violinist Augustin Hadelich will be joined by dazzling pianist Joyce Yang and dynamic guitarist Pablo Villegas for an evening of Spanish-themed music built around André Previn’s three-part piece Tango Song and Dance, written for violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Weaving throughout this work will be various pieces by other composers – Rodrigo, Falla, Piazzolla, Ginastera, Ysaÿe, and Villa-Lobos – making the concert a coherent entity.


The first movement, Tango, will be played at the start of the concert; the second, Song, at the beginning of the second half; and the third, Dance, at the end. Tango is full of theatrical flair. In composer André Previn’s own words: “At the time, the tango revival craze had not yet been born, and so the first movement with its purposeful and exaggerated tango clichés was still possible. The clustered harmonies are not terribly far removed from the sound the traditional accordion makes, and the whole movement should be full of self-conscious poses”. Below the surface, however, there is a troubled and uneasy feeling. Song is poignant and extremely sentimental. The piano accompaniment’s textures and harmonies evoke sad piano bar music, over which the violinist sings wistfully. The finale, Dance, is a wild ride. It is here that the jazz influence is felt most strongly. That said, it would be rather hard to dance to since Previn likes to make the bars trip over themselves by leaving out the final eighth note. Much of the piano playing sounds like boogie woogie patterns played on a broken piano: lots of “wrong” and “missed” notes and general mayhem. Above all this, the violin plays jazz riffs intermingled with more percussive, atonal passages. Overall, the mood of the movement is frenzied and jubilant.


In the past six years, I have encountered only a handful of fresh-to-the-scene classical soloists who completely enraptured—those who combine the old-school magnetic quality of superlative technique with energetic experimentation, soul, and discovery. Among the electrifying performers that have made me literally lean forward in my seat are cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianists Daniil Trifonov and Behzod Abduraimov.

Joyce Yang

But when Juilliard-trained violinist Augustin Hadelich performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the LA Philharmonic, it was a revelation. Grounded yet ethereal, intense yet warm-hearted, jocular yet serious, the now 32-year-old played his 1723 Ex-Kiesewetter Stradivarius, taking a work I thought I knew and transformed it from a violinist’s showcase into an intimate and achingly beautiful experience. Since then, I’ve heard him blend in beautifully with Colburn players at a chamber recital, and blaze through Tchaikovsky’s beloved Violin Concerto with the Pacific Symphony, during which the audience refused to stop applauding after the first movement (as a Stage and Cinema reader said, “Yes, the OC audience is easy and we should not have interrupted, but please hold us blameless. Augustin Hadelich is the one to blame. His music transformed the listeners into an unruly mob of music lovers.”

ANDRÉ PREVIN: Tango from Tango, Song and Dance
RODRIGO: Invocación y Danza (Homage to Manuel de Falla)
FALLA: Canciones Populares Espaňolas
GINASTERA: Danzas Argentinas
ANDRÉ PREVIN: Song from Tango, Song and Dance
ROLAND DYENS: Tango en Skaï
PIAZZOLLA: Histoire du Tango
YSAŸE: Sonata for Solo Violin No. 6 in E Major, Op. 27/6
ANDRÉ PREVIN: Dance from Tango, Song and Dance
VILLA-LOBOS: (arr. Stefan Malzew) Ária from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5

Tango Song and Dance
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Joyce Yang, piano
Pablo Villegas, guitar
Friday, April 15, 2016 at 8
MCASD Sherwood Auditorium
700 Prospect St in La Jolla
for tickets, visit La Jolla Music Society
Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 8
Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine
for tickets, visit Philharmonic Society

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