Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Bernard Labadie & Augustin Hadelich at Zankel Hall – Avison, Geminiani, Bach & Pachelbel

Concerto Grosso No.5 in D-minor

Concerto Grosso, Op.5/12 (La Follia)

S. Bach
Fantasia in G, BWV572 [arr. Labadie]

Concerto for Violin in G-minor, BWV1056R [edited Wilfried Fischer]

Chaconne in E-minor

Concerto Grosso in F, Op.5/10

S. Bach
Concerto for Violin in D-minor, BWV1052R [edited Wilfried Fischer]

Augustin Hadelich (violin)

Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Bernard Labadie

Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski

Reviewed: 18 June, 2024
Venue: Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York City

Augustin Hadelich joined the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Bernard Labadie for this OSL Bach Festival 2024 program showcasing 18th-century concertos in alternate versions.

The evening began with an elegant reading of Charles Avison’s D-minor Concerto Grosso, one of a set of twelve adapted from Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas. A gracefully flowing Largo was followed by an urgent Allegro, another slow movement, and a second rapid Allegro.

Next up was Concerto Grosso, Opus 5/12, the last work in Francisco Geminiani’s re-working of Twelve Violin Sonatas in tribute to his teacher Corelli. Dubbed ‘La Follia’ after a 15th-century Portuguese dance that becomes wilder and faster. Labadie and OSL dispatched a robust and lively traversal of its 23 variations, highlighted by Hadelich’s stunning playing.

Originally composed for organ, Bach’s Fantasia in G, BWV572, for which transcriptions abound, exhibits his command of harmonic maneuvering. The OSL delivered a transparent account of Labadie’s arrangement, full of character and verve. 

The Violin Concerto in G-minor, in Wilfried Fischer’s reconstruction from a harpsichord concerto, sounded wonderfully vibrant, the outer movements were distinguished by Hadelich’s spirited embellishments, but the highlight was his passionate and joyful playing in the rhapsodic Largo.

The second half began with Pachelbel – not his Canon, but the Chaconne in E-minor, from a collection of sixwritten for organ, here in Labadie’s arrangement for strings and continuo. Concertmaster Krista Bennion Feeney served as the superbly accomplished soloist in a lovely performance of its 22 variations. 

Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso, Opus 5/10, is a suite of elaborate dances: a majestic Adagio prelude preceded a vivacious Allemande followed by a slow and stately Sarabande and a cheerful Gavotta before an exhilarating Giga.

Hadelich returned for the final item: a dazzling interpretation of Bach’s reconstituted Violin Concerto in D-minor. He displayed remarkable command of his instrument as he progressed through the intricacies of the ardent Allegro, the arching melodic lines of the reflective Adagio, and the vibrant final Allegro, all topped off with a breathtaking quasi-cadenza before a final flourish by the OSL. For an encore Hadelich gave a gorgeous rendition of the poignant Andante from Bach’s A-minor Sonata, BWV1003.

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