Isabelle Faust & Alexander Melnikov All Ages Image

When: Fri., Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. 2015

The performance has been canceled due to illness.

As much as I was blown away by the superb, empathetic performance delivered by German violinist Isabelle Faust on her 2013 Harmonia Mundi recording of Béla Bartók’s Violin Concertos nos. 1 and 2, I was equally knocked out when reading her liner notes, where she provides gripping details about the genesis of each work and the composer’s state of mind when writing them. While consulting early versions of the Concerto no.1, she discovered Bartók had directed that the second movement be played “without vibrato,” a note omitted from early published versions of the work, and though such marginalia may seem niggling to the average listener (myself included), the violinist’s research speaks to her engagement with the work she performs—Faust does much more than simply play a piece. She’s collaborated extensively with Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov, her partner as they make their Chicago debut as a duo tonight. Last year, joined by cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras for another Harmonia Mundi release, they brought crisp energy and lyric beauty to Beethoven’s Piano Trios op. 70, no. 2, and op. 97, the Archduke; more recently they played together for Melnikov’s new record Hindemith: Sonatas for . . . , which also includes sonatas for trombone, trumpet, and althorn. On today’s eclectic program are Dvořák’s Romantische Stücke, Enescu’s Impressions d’Enfance, Tchaikovsky’s Mélodies, and Franck’s Sonata in A Major. —Peter Margasak

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