Back in April 2014 at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Augustin Hadelich’s performance of David Lang’s "mystery sonatas" was praised by the New York Times as a riveting display of “magisterial poise and serene control.” That same magic penetrates this starkly beautiful recording of the work, played by Hadelich on the exquisite 1723 “ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivari, on loan to him by its current owners since 2011.
Lang based his "mystery sonatas" on the famous pieces by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, but with a modern twist. “I decided to make my own virtuosic pieces about my most intimate, most spiritual thoughts,” he explains, “[but] mine are not about Jesus, and the violin is not retuned between movements. I did keep one of Biber’s distinctions. He divides Jesus’s life into three phases—the joyous, the sorrowful, and the glorious. The central pieces of my mystery sonatas are called ‘joy,’ ‘sorrow,’ and ‘glory,’ but these are all quiet, internal, reflective states of being.”