Brilliance times two: Violin-piano recital casts light into dark and turbulent places of the soul

“As a duo, violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang, two formidable virtuosi in their own right, are nothing short of fierce – or, in optional terms less feral: incandescent, mesmerizing, spectacular.

Such were the qualities of their recital together the afternoon of Nov. 7 at Orchestra Hall, a program of remarkable intensity and seriousness, but notable as well for its splendor and its sheer power… against Wang’s sparkling counterpoint, Kavakos imbued the ruminative line of the third movement not only with transcendent light, but also profound warmth, as if it were a soaring aria from a passion or cantata. And then off they skittered together, violinist and pianist, bounding across the final movement with unfettered joy and unfailing grace.”

Chicago on the aisle