Review: Augustin Hadelich Wows Second Madison Audience

By William R. Wineke Special to Channel 3000

MADISON, Wis. — A couple of years ago violinist Augustin Hadelich made his first performance with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and left the audience on its feet cheering.

Friday night, he returned to Madison to play with the Madison Symphony Orchestra: larger concert hall, larger orchestra, same audience reaction.

Hadelich played Sergei Prokofiev’s ?Concerto No. 2 in G Minor for Violin and Orchestra? and followed with an encore of Paganini’s ?Caprice 24.? He received standing ovations for each piece.

That’s not unusual for the young musician (he was born in 1984 in Italy to German parents). He has been winning rave reviews for his concerts all over the world. He plays a 1723 Stradivari violin with a boyish exuberance that manages to weave the lyrical portions of the second movement with vigorous solo passages that keep an audience sitting up in its chairs.

What’s all the more remarkable about Hadelich is that he almost had to give up playing altogether. When he was 15, he was badly burned on his face and bow hand in a fire on the family farm. He spent two years recovering. Fortunately, the fire spared his tendons and nerves and his technique remains near perfect.

The MSO also scored well with Tchaikovsky’s ?Symphony No. 2 in C Minor,? the ?Little Russian? symphony, one of those pieces of classical music that contain tunes familiar to most people who never even think they like classical music. It is a vigorous piece that stirred enough blood in the audience to make it ready to face the cold January temperatures.

The concerts will be repeated at 8 Saturday and again Sunday at 2:30 p.m. It is worth your while to purchase tickets if only to spend a couple of hours in the presence of this remarkable musician.