Christian Ihle Hadland at Wigmore Hall – Mozart & Schubert

Piano Sonata in D, K576
Piano Sonata in A, D959

Christian Ihle Hadland (piano)

Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: 28 January, 2013
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Christian Ihle Hadland. Photograph: Anders BergensenAlthough this BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert at Wigmore Hall comprised two late sonatas by Mozart and Schubert, it proved instructive to consider that both composers were in their early thirties when the works were written; and intriguing to have a performer of very similar age to play them. A member of the BBC Radio 3 New Generations scheme, the Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland, born in 1983, possesses a fine technique and an acute sensitivity when playing softly, qualities that suited the intricate contours of the Mozart. The first movement was brightly voiced if a bit cluttered in some of the phrasing, but the Adagio was beautifully played, its central section highly expressive. Hadland’s undemonstrative and unhurried approach worked well in the finale.

Unfortunately Hadland’s account of Schubert’s great A major Piano Sonata failed to ignite. The large structure of the piece was not always in evidence, too often broken down into much smaller units, Hadland concentrating on individual phrases rather than bringing them out in the context of the whole. Here again he was more effective in the quieter music, and the opening to the Andantino was as soft and sombre as one could have wished. However the same movement’s terrifying outburst lacked the surprise element being deprived of the emotional torment that can be found in this music. The call to arms of the first movement also felt hollow and disjointed. The scherzo, one of Schubert’s delightfully capricious inventions, was affectionately played, but the finale, rather than crowning what had gone before, felt too relaxed to be a summing up of one of Schubert’s great final statements.

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