Brahms, Stravinsky: Violin Concertosby Hilary Hahn
Virtuoso violinist Hilary Hahn may be young, but she plays with the skill and polish of a seasoned pro. Here, on her fourth solo disc for Sony Classical, the 21-year-old navigates the many challenges of Brahms's "Concerto Against the Violin" (as one of the composer's contemporaries famously quipped) with seeming ease, bringing transparency and intensity to the demanding work. Her tone is taut and well focused, her playing by turns fiery and lyrical but never sentimental. This is not a Romantic's account, perhaps, but it is one played with meticulous control, clarity of vision, and an attention-grabbing conviction. Stravinsky's Violin Concerto balances the program, and at first blush it may seem like an odd choice -- after all, the two concertos inhabit utterly different sonic worlds. But the Concerto's spry Neo-Classical style offers a pleasing palate cleanser after the richness of Brahms, and it complements Hahn's incandescent take on the Romantic's work surprisingly well. Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields accompany, achieving a lush, warm sound in the Brahms and a wiry crispness in the Stravinsky. This isn't Hahn's first thought-provoking program -- she paired Beethoven's Concerto with Bernstein's "Serenade" on one disc, and Samuel Barber's Concerto with one written for her by Edgar Meyer on another. And we can bet it won't be her last, either. Hahn is fast establishing herself as one of the world's preeminent violinists, and many more creative and ear-catching recordings from this rising star are sure to come.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsHilary Hahn Violin
Neville Marriner Conductor
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Performing Ensemble
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If the violin is the voice of an orchestra then Hilary is holding one of the best singers ever in her talented hands. The Brahms is the capstone of her recordings thus far. The Stravinsky is different enough to stand on it's own yet is the perfect partner for this disk. The diversity presented allows Hilary to explore her styles and delivery. If you are a long time fan or someone who's been wondering just how good she is, this is the disk for you.
The wonderful Hilary Hahn has released yet another incredible albaum, combining the works of Brahms and Stravinsky. This is one of the most pleasing CDs to listen to because it combines technical wizardry with beautiful phrases and masterful style. After every CD release, Hilary seems to be improving by leaps and bounds. Both concerti possess that live performance quality (she plays both concertos with jaw-dropping precision and warmth in concert as well) and the listener feels like applauding at the end of each movement. I feel that she especially excels in the slow movements of each concerto; it is almost unbelievable that such a young person could convey her message and purpose with such warmth and drive. Even in some of the most technically difficult of passages, she never seems to lose sight of the musical line. Her Vuilluame projects incredibly well in the recording studio, and the orchestra does a wonderful job supporting the solo line. Bravo to the engineers, Sir Neville Marriner, and Hilary Hahn for producing such a magnificent fourth albaum. The liner notes, a major part of every one of her CDs, come to show people how intelligent and well-rounded a musician she trully is. It is my hope that she continues to produce better and better albums.
As a violinist myself, I must say that Hilary Hahn is an extremaly talented person. Technically, she is flawless, and as far as musicality goes- well, let's just say that she plays with an incredible amount of feeling. The first track is my favorite, and someday I hope I can play half as good as Hilary!
I must confess that I have no basis for comparison, since I am not familiar with other renditions of these two pieces. However, I must conclude after listening to this CD that you'd have to be stone deaf to miss the sensitivity and technicality of this rendition. The supreme synergy between Ms. Hahn, Sir Neville Marriner, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fileds, together with the clarity of the production, is simply beautiful!
i'm sorry to break people's hearts, but this cd of the brahms stinks. anna-sophie mutter is so much better with the brahms. her bach cd is pretty good...she can get away with the bach, but when it comes to brahms...whoa...she needs to get a brain. hello, it stinks.