Leonidas Kavakos and Yuja Wang, Wigmore Hall, London — a striking rapport

Harriet Smith, Financial Times

“This was a big programme in every sense: three demanding sonatas from the early 20th century and Schubert’s C major Fantasy, D934 … They captured the hesitant, whispered opening of the Schubert Fantasy perfectly, Kavakos seamless in his bow changes …

There will be a lot of Debussy in 2018, the centenary of his death, but it’s difficult to imagine a more idiomatic performance of the Violin Sonata than the one given by these two. It’s a work into which Debussy packs so many ideas, and Kavakos and Wang conveyed its mercurial nature. The first movement was by turns playful, rhapsodic and emphatic, while their daring in the hushed, detached writing of the second was impressive. Wang’s way with the piano opening to the finale sounded entirely spontaneous and, again, the rapport between these two musicians was striking. Bartók’s First Violin Sonata is an expansive affair, and can sound meandering in the wrong hands. Kavakos and Wang were at their best in the more high-octane moments, notably the finale (a typically Bartókian chase combining the playful with the bombastic), though Kavakos’s soliloquy at the opening of the Adagio was also beautifully wrought. By way of encore, we had a sensual reading of the First of Szymanowski’s Mythes.”