Leonidas Kavakos’ programme for the 2015 Verbier Festival featured sonatas by Mozart, Schumann and Bartok accompanied by Ferenc Rados.
Kavakos sweet and delicate string tone cut is a beguiling thing – most evident in the often unorthodox B flat major sonata K. 454. There were moments in the opening work where it felt as though violin and piano were battling dynamics slightly (with the piano winning from the time to time), on occasion with the addition of Rados humming along. This was tempered by sublime ensemble passages in what appears like a tricky work.
As the programme progressed so we saw more and more of Kavakos’ insistence and determination. In the Bartok sonata second movement there were moments of the violinist letting his guard down and really showing us what was going on.
It was however the Schumann which really saw Leonidas fly. The violinist has an appealing lack of pretension when he plays. In his most passionate outbursts his gentle presence contributes to a compelling authenticity. At times during the work, he turned full on to the audience, pulling us in to the richness of the soundscape him and Rados were sculpting. A mesmerizing performance. I just wished Rados could smiled a little, especially given the applause was so warm and appreciate.
Watch Kavakos’ Verbier 2015 recital for free via Medici.TV