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Barber, Meyer: Violin Concertos

Barber, Meyer: Violin Concertos

4.9 12
by Hilary Hahn
This is the most exciting violin recording since, well, Hilary Hahn's last recording. Possessing a seductively silky tone and a fearless virtuosity that makes even the most difficult passage sound easy, the petite 19-year-old violinist is a titanic talent. Barber's Violin Concerto has received many fine recordings over the years, but this


This is the most exciting violin recording since, well, Hilary Hahn's last recording. Possessing a seductively silky tone and a fearless virtuosity that makes even the most difficult passage sound easy, the petite 19-year-old violinist is a titanic talent. Barber's Violin Concerto has received many fine recordings over the years, but this is truly exceptional. The first movement is achingly lyrical, the slow movement dark and searching, and the finale -- taken at a ferociously fast tempo -- is simply breathtaking. Edgar Meyer, the double bassist and composer whose career straddles the worlds of classical and popular music, has already proved that he knows how to write for the violin (check out his bluegrass-flavored compositions on Short Trip Home, featuring Joshua Bell). Meyer's new Violin Concerto, written especially for Hahn, has an all-American melodic directness and rhythmic sharpness that recalls Copland at his best. More poetic than splashy, it gives Hahn the opportunity to spin a hypnotic web of sound. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, led by Hugh Wolff, give welcome bite to the Barber and provide a luminous backdrop for Hahn in Meyer's concerto.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Samuel Barber's "Violin Concerto" is well-suited to Hilary Hahn's expressive range and technical proficiency. Perhaps it is also an ideal vehicle for her impressive musicality, which always overrides virtuosic flashiness. Hahn's seriousness is matched by the work's earnest style, and her intellectual grasp of the music is as strong as her emotional commitment to it. Hahn opens the neo-Romantic Allegro with a full sound, complemented by the artful writing for winds. Barber's orchestration is transparent, leaving room for the solo violin to be distinctly heard at all times. The writing in the violin's low register lets Hahn display her richest tone, though her higher passages are also beautifully colored. The Andante begins with a long oboe solo -- a clear nod to the Brahms "Violin Concerto" -- its plaintive tone setting the second movement's darker mood. Hahn's solo grows out of this opening material and arches above the brooding harmonies, almost rising to an elegiac level. The devilishly difficult Presto in moto is a perfect foil to the melancholy atmosphere of the previous two movements, and Hahn shows genuine skill in her crisp articulation of this scurrying finale. Hugh Wolff and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra provide a lush background, enhancing Hahn's resonant performance. Through no failing of her own, Hahn's premiere recording of Edgar Meyer's "Violin Concerto" is less than satisfying because her performance is stronger than the piece itself, which is at times banal and insufficiently developed to exploit the form's dramatic potential. The simple melody of the introduction leads to, and ultimately frames, the faster material that follows. Hahn's high, ringing arabesques and tricky runs, played against the shifting compound meters, are the most attractive features of the movement. Although the accompaniment is rhythmically active, and occasionally interesting, the orchestra never breaks out of its restricted background role. The second movement's main theme evolves from a trite double-turn, which is passed around the orchestra several times before the soloist's entrance. Hahn controls her double-voiced passages, carefully maintaining both lines without noticeably breaking. When the music picks up in pace and complexity, the change is welcome. Hahn, held back for too long, finally breaks loose with some colorful playing. The return to the opening material sets up a cadenza, more of a reverie than an overt display of technique. In this performance, Wolff and the orchestra give understated support, perhaps all that can be drawn from Meyer's score.

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Barber, Meyer: Violin Concertos 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this recording! I'm a huge fan of Hilary Hahn, and it's really great! I think this recording is better than the two that she made so far! Everytime she makes a recording, it's better than the last one! I am a violinst, and before I start my practice I always listen to her. She really inspires me! It's great, and I'm sure you'll fall in love with it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember Hilary describing the Barber concerto somewhere as "Sunny, but threatens to rain." I agree, because I can't listen to this piece without feeling transported to a wooded celtic place like Scottland. The Meyer composition is cute and funny.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Barber was a homosexual! Homosexuality is a serious disease and should not be tollerated by any decent society. Homosexual inspired art should be identified by a special label. This should be the law.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hilary Hahn is just amazing at performing solo with an orchestra. This recording shows why she's so remarkable at the violin again. The way she performs the Samuel Barber and Edgar Meyer Violin Concertos is so exhilirating, it's hearing a marvelous work of music being performed by a definitive master. Hearing it is more exciting because it's a Cannes Classical winner! I recommend this CD to all who love Hilary Hahn and classical music at the same time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I heard sometime late last year that Hilary Hahn was releasing a new recording, and ever since I've been eagerly awaiting its appearance. Now that it's here, I have to say I am quite impressed and I think this is her finest recording yet! The Barber is most impressive, for Hilary plays with such feeling that she conveys naturally the quite turbulent emotions of the piece. I've heard many other recordings of the Barber, but none have had the subtle nuances which Ms. Hahn brought to the performance and which add so much to the enjoyment of the work: a slide into a note here, a ritard there. This adds much to the already beautiful nature of the piece. With the Meyer, I believe I have found another favorite violin concerto. There are definite Copland-esque moments in the concerto, but Meyer infuses these passages with plenty of his own material. Ms. Hahn performs the piece as if it were established in the repertoire. Let's hope it does become a commonly performed piece! Another great recording Ms. Hahn! I know that I speak for many people when I say that we can't wait until your next recording. Many thinks for hours of listening enjoyment!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchase the Barber Meyer from B&N. I gave it to the local record store in the mall as promotional material because their classical section has less than a dozen items. I hope somebody will buy it, but even if not, (Titusville is a podunk retro town) I love knowing that you are there now. If I miss you exquisitely, I can walk for an hour to see you in the mall. I have donated several of your other recordings to the library, but the county library system already had the Barber in Eau Gallie, so I think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have a new respect for Edgar Meyer after watching his video with Natalie MacMaster. Fans of Edgar should check this CD out! And furthermore, gays should be attracted to the Barber piece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was at a live performance of Hilary Hahn with the Boston Symphony playing the Meyer Violin Concerto a few weeks ago. It brought me to tears. I bought the CD recently and I swear it is the most passionate performance from a solo violinist with orchestra I've ever heard. The Barber and the Meyer are stunning as played by Ms. Hahn. I can't believe my ears. I'm forever a fan of this young woman's talent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you find homosexual art appealing, then this album is the one for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im a 14 year old Violin student who is on my fifth year of playing* I love Hilary Hahn's music! she's a really awesoume violinist and I hope to become like her some day! I love her cd's! You must here them because she plays so beautifuly =)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hillary certainly maxed the Barber. I had heard it before, but didn't fall in love with it until hearing her interpretation. The second movement is beautifully melancholy, and never fails to bring me to the verge of tears. She really knows how to shape phrases. I appreciate her sensitivety in the harsher sections of music as well. She never over plays (something I tend to do) so it is so refreshing to listen to somebody who knows a lot about balance. I loved the Meyer concerto after about the 3rd time through-it took a while for me to appreciate it, but once I recognized the themes and patterns I realized what a masterwork it is on Meyer's behalf. Hahn elavates the perhaps lesser known concerto to a place worthy of praise. The fast theme of the third movement rocks the world, and I'd love to get my hands on the music!