Review: IVCI presents Laureate/guitar duo

Augustin Hadelich and Pablo Sainz Villegas

A featured violin/guitar duo concert -- how many of those can

you recall? I

can't remember any in my years of chamber-music attendance. That is, before

Tuesday's in the Basile Theater of the IHC. Given the two performers extant at

this one, violinist Augustin Hadelich and guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, we

got to hear a perfect blend of colors, technique and musicianship. Hadelich is

of course the 2006 Indy Violin Competition gold medalist, quite possibly the

best one awarded that prize to date. Correspondingly Sáinz Villegas, born in La

Rioja, Spain,

won the first Chistopher Parkening Guitar Competition in 2006. Their program of

19th and 20th-century offerings nicely highlighted their individual and duo


First we heard five of the seven songs from Manuel de

Falla's Canciones populares españolas

(Popular Spanish Songs - 1915), originally written for voice and piano. In just

listening to Hadelich and Sáinz Villegas, who would have known that the pieces were composed to

be sung? Our players blended the singing line into an exquisitely precise instrumental

duo, with Hadelich's well controlled opulence matching Sáinz Villegas's beautifully

rounded strumming, whether loud, soft, fast or slow.

Next came Niccolò Paganini's Sonata Concertata for Guitar and Violin

in A, Op. 61 (1804), a Classical-era counterpart to the Falla. This was

followed by the Invocación y Danza

for Solo Guitar (1961) by Joaquin Rodrigo, who lived throughout the entire 20th

century (1901-1999). Here Sáinz Villegas took command, with his five right fingers

rapidly strumming over one note while his left ones delineated the melody, over

one stretch.

Hadelich soloed, following the break, with the last of

Eugene Ysaÿe's violin sonatas, No. 6, all Op. 27 (1924). These are familiar

works, testing the acumen of our competition participants every four years. Our

2006 gold medalist soared in this one, giving us some of his best playing ever.

Sáinz Villegas came back for another solo, this time the

contemporary Tango en Skai by Roland

Dyens (b. 1955) from Tunisia.

His tango exhibited a pops, dance-like flavor.

Our duo returned to give us the grand finale: world tango master

Astor Piazzolla's Histoire du tango

(1986), which explores that dance form's history in four parts, from 1900 to

1930 to 1960 to the "present." (Since Piazzolla was an Argentinean of Italian

heritage, one wonders why his title is in French.). That brought the house

down, producing an encore, for which I was regrettably unable to remain. Feb. 18; Indiana History Center


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