Music review: Andreas Haefliger
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Andreas Haefliger at Queen’s Hall, reviewed by Ken Walton
PIANIST Andreas Haefliger set himself a monumental task on Saturday with the physically demanding lunchtime pairing of Schubert’s Sonata in G major and Beethoven’s ultimate back-breaker, the harrowing Hammerklavier Sonata. The fact he survived is credit enough.
But if anything, his forte was in painting the big picture. There was a conviction in the unwinding of the Schubert as it slowly progressed from its earthbound start. But it wasn’t until the later moments that Haefliger revealed much greater sensitivity and flowing dexterity (if too brittle in touch) than the heavy-handedness that hardened the tonal colourings of the tough opening movement.
That wasn’t so much an issue in the Beethoven, given the frenzied outbursts that are its initial clarion call, and which explode in myriad forms throughout a work so impulsive, so bombastic, you have to question its very sanity.
But once again, Haefliger – who appears to hum through his recitals – handled its sturdy framework with bruising authority, beating the final manic fugue into submission, bar the odd mis-hit, and asserting its brutal complexity as a sunburst response – not just to the lengthy, heavenly Adagio, but to the sonata as a whole.
Originally published in The Scotsman