I was completely bowled over by the recital I heard Augustin Hadelich play in Indianapolis today (I heard it on line). I think that the difference between him and all the other violinists I have heard in this Indianapolis competition is that I could imagine myself playing like most of the other violinists, that is, if I had enough technique, strength, stamina, and if I had healthy nerves. With Augustin Hadelich it is different. When he plays, he challenges my musical imagination. I feel like I can understand his playing physically, but the excitement, intensity, and personal investment that goes into every note and every phrase sends his playing to a completely different musical level from anything I could ever even imagine attaining or really understanding.
I had my violin case open while I was watching his recorded performance, and I looked at him, and then looked at the picture of Michael Rabin I keep in my case. My reaction to Hadelich's playing is not that different from my reaction to Michael Rabin's playing.
The video of his recital is archived now, and may only be available for a few more days. If you want a thrill go here and follow the link to listen to the performances of the finalists.