Elgar: Violin Concerto / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

Elgar: Violin Concerto / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

3.6 6
by Hilary Hahn
     
 

Elgar's Violin Concerto tends to bring out the best in young virtuosos. This may be surprising, given that the musical challenges of the work are even more daunting than its considerable technical demands -- but the proof is on disc. Yehudi Menuhin was just 16 when he made the first complete recording (underSee more details below

Overview

Elgar's Violin Concerto tends to bring out the best in young virtuosos. This may be surprising, given that the musical challenges of the work are even more daunting than its considerable technical demands -- but the proof is on disc. Yehudi Menuhin was just 16 when he made the first complete recording (under the composer's direction), and a teenage Nigel Kennedy established his reputation with a superb performance. Now here's Hilary Hahn with a remarkably assured and mature interpretation. Sir Colin Davis does not shape the orchestral part as tautly as Elgar himself did, nor is he as magisterial as Vernon Handley (who conducted for Kennedy's recording), but his is a compellingly passionate, sometimes even volatile, view. Hahn's response to the music is also highly emotional, to be sure, but there's a poise and a rare element of delicacy to her playing, too. DG's recording underlines the elegance of Hahn's approach by not placing her too close to the microphone. As a result, she occasionally seems dwarfed by the orchestra, but this a realistic perspective, and one that only enhances the music's dramatic character. As for the technical hurdles, Hahn leaps each one with apparent ease; note, for example, her finely etched realization of the intricate passagework at the beginning of the finale. The CD offers an encore of sorts: Ralph Vaughan Williams's pastoral meditation The Lark Ascending. In case you were too involved in the drama of the Elgar to notice, the exquisite refinement of Hahn's tone is unmistakable here. Not to be missed.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - David Mermelstein
Though [the Concerto] is famously taxing (Elgar was an able fiddler), Ms. Hahn never lets on, handily navigating the first movement's shifting landscape with youthful élan. The middle movement profits from her superb articulation, and in its pages she limns, if not pathos, then at least deep feeling. In the fast-paced finale, Ms. Hahn handles her violin as an expert test driver might handle a vintage automobile, confidently and with relish. Her concentration is remarkable.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Peter Dobrin
1/2 Davis and the Londoners sound as if they own this music. They play with an authority -- a swagger, even -- that raises Elgar to a rare level of audacious joy. Hahn and especially Davis flex tempos in a way that swerves the music into unexpected corners of meaning and emotion. It's all very satisfying.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/09/2004
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947487326
catalogNumber:
000312136
Rank:
6463

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61  - Edward Elgar  - Colin Davis  - Martin Engstrom  -  London Symphony Orchestra  - Fred Munzmaier  - Hilary Hahn
  2. The Lark Ascending, romance for violin & orchestra  - Colin Davis  - Ralph Vaughan Williams  - Martin Engstrom  -  London Symphony Orchestra  - Fred Munzmaier  - Hilary Hahn

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