A ‘Great’ Evening with the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra and Violinist Augustin Dumay
Violinist Augustin Dumay provided real French flare and the HPO responded in kind in three late nineteenth-century works for violin and orchestra. Dumay was a child prodigy, whose talents were spotted and nurtured by Nathan Milstein, one of the great violinists of the twentieth century. His international career was launched by no less than the legendary conductor Herbert van Karajan. Ravel’s Tzigane opens with an extended solo for violin, which was the first opportunity to luxuriate in Dumay’s warm, burnished sound. The fantastic duet for solo violin and piccolo that is one of Tzigane’s most exciting passages was expertly dispatched. After Ravel’s gypsy-inspired music came Chausson’s elusive, emotive Poème. With each repetition of its evocative melody, Dumay displayed new facets of color and emotion in his playing. Together, Dumay and the HPO transported us into that ‘gentle dreaminess’, as Debussy described the work’s closing measures, which is a lovely place to be.
If most of the orchestra appeared to be young, many in the audience were actually children. Dumay could not have hoped for a more attentive audience than those young listeners, but even so they sat up straight and perked up their ears when he started to play the Méditation from Thaïs. Perhaps they know it from the soundtrack of the film Titanic, or maybe just instinctively responded to its intoxicating melody, but they liked what they heard. Throughout, Dumay was charm personified, and gracious in acknowledging the HPO’s excellent work; gallantly handing his bouquet of flowers to harpist Yinuo Yang, who had partnered with him so beautifully in the Ravel and Massenet.
Rick Perdian, Seen and Heard International, Jan. 2017