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Mendelssohn, Shostakovich: Violin Concertos
     

Mendelssohn, Shostakovich: Violin Concertos

4.4 5
by Hilary Hahn
 
Hilary Hahn has a knack for putting together unlikely musical pairs: Beethoven and Bernstein, Brahms and Stravinsky, Barber and Edgar Meyer. This latest pairing of concertos by Mendelssohn and Shostakovich may seem the most improbable yet, but in fact these two very different works complement each other very well. Hahn brings out the

Overview

Hilary Hahn has a knack for putting together unlikely musical pairs: Beethoven and Bernstein, Brahms and Stravinsky, Barber and Edgar Meyer. This latest pairing of concertos by Mendelssohn and Shostakovich may seem the most improbable yet, but in fact these two very different works complement each other very well. Hahn brings out the classical poise of the Mendelssohn in a performance that is fast-paced yet affectionate. The finale is particularly zippy, which Hahn says is her attempt to recapture the 19th-century performance style. Whether or not it's authentic, the result is extremely exciting. The dark, brooding, often angry Shostakovich A Minor Concerto offers a complete contrast to the graceful lyricism of the Mendelssohn. Here again, however, Hahn refuses to sentimentalize, though she obviously feels the music very deeply. Her tone is leaner and more intense, and she slashes through the scherzo (played very quickly) and finale with considerable vehemence. But it is in the slow first movement and the grimly dignified Passacaglia that Hahn is most impressive. Like David Oistrakh, for whom the concerto was written, Hahn "sings" the melodies with utter naturalness. The emotions expressed may be gritty and sometimes even painful, but she never indulges in self-pity, and the music is all the more powerful for it. Extraordinary.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Hilary Hahn delights in putting together works that normally don't go together. Her previous pairings of works by Beethoven and Bernstein, Barber and Meyer, and Brahms and Stravinsky went against what most listeners and critics think of as apt disc mates. And in every one so far, Hahn has succeeded: each performance is superb in its own right and each sounds even better in context of the work with which it shares disc space. But not this time. In her new recording of Mendelssohn's E minor and Shostakovich's A minor concertos, Hahn has coupled an astoundingly brilliant performance of the former with a slight and shallow performance of the latter. Hahn's Mendelssohn is one of the best in decades, a performance that stands with Mutter's and Shaham's and rivals the great Milstein, Heifetz, and Kreisler for virtuosity and vivacity. But her Shostakovich is as dreadful as her Mendelssohn is delightful. Hahn plays the work with stunning technique and as-stunning incomprehension. Any of the emotional or musical depth is missing, leaving a hole where the work's heart used to be. And in context of Hahn's bright and shinning Mendelssohn, Shostakovich's concerto sounds even more shallow and meaningless. While this disc is certainly worth getting for the tremendous Mendelssohn, the Shostakovich is ultimately not worth listening to.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/05/2002
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998992122
catalogNumber:
89921
Rank:
93264

Tracks

  1. Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
  2. Violin Concerto No. 1, in A minor, Op. 77 (revised as Op. 99)

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Mendelssohn, Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hilary Hahn is an utterly stunning and consummate violinist and that has been corroborated by her 4 late albums. Now this 5th album is probably the most contrasting of all the pairings that she has done in the past. Juxtaposing the depressing pessimistic Shostakovich with the optimistic Mendelssohn. Well, I think this is a great pairing because I like the Shostakovich and Mendelssohn very much. The Shosty being my best loved concerto surmounted only by the Beethoven. Hilary Hahn really has no fault in this album. The reason I gave this 3 stars is that, the engineering sucks. There is not enough reverb to make it sound as if it is a live recording in a concert hall. Unlike hilary's past albums which have transported me to a live concert experience however vicariously. Still this album is enjoyable. The 3rd movement of the Mendelssohn is the gem of this compilation. But I still like the Shostakovich more because this is the most technically perfect version of it. I still recommend this CD though since it's Hilary and she is indeed lovely to hear.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Again, Hilary Hahn has released another MARVELOUS CD. The paring of Mendelssohn and Shostakovich may seem a bit odd at first, but Ms. Hahn blends them together cleanly in her CD. The Shostakovich defenitley stands out: Not many artists have recorded this, and none are spectacular, so it can only be assumed that her's should take the crown. What amazes me is the Mendelssohn. First, it is super poplar, and there are so many good recordings of it; with Joshua Bell's harmonics and neblin tone, Vengerov's and Solerno-Sonnenberg's battles, and Verhey's clean0cut mastery. second, it is not something popular but difficult (like the Brahms) that is rarely recorded well, so the battle for the throne is darn well near impossible. (Not to too much surprise)Hilary has done a wonderful job! She adds in a never-seen-before rubato element in the first movement, and speeds it along with the third movement up several notches, so if you like fast recordings like me, you will be in awe!!!!!! I can't wait until she releases the Bruch and Sibelius concertos. In the meantime, buy this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is one of my absolute favorites. If you're one of those people who dislike Hahn because she plays too cleanly and has bizarre pairings, you're either jealous or you're crazy. I thought Sarah Chang's Mendelssohn was good, and Midori's Shostakovich also, and they are good. But Hahn's are exceptional. The Mendelssohn is nice, but buy the CD for the Shostakovich. I have hundreds of violin CD's, and this one is in the top five, no question.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE LITTLE BOOKLET THAT COMES WITH THIS CD MAKES THE CD MORE LIKE A FRISBEE THAN AN AUDIO SOURCE. WELL, YOU CAN'T COOK PIZZA ON IT, SO NOT HAVING A PLAYER, I BASICALLY ASSUME THAT WHATEVER IS ON THAT DISC IS THE ULTIMATE AND FINAL INTERPRETATION OF THOSE PIECES OF MUSIC. THEREFORE, THOSE PIECES SHOULD NEVER NEED TO BE RECORDED AGAIN. BUT WHAT I WAS SAYING ABOUT THE LITTLE BOOKLET. I WOULD PAY FULL BRICE FOR THAT BOOKLET ALONE. THE LIGHT GRAPH OF HER SITTING LIKE A LITTLE BUDDHA WAS SO INTENSELY MOVING THAT I HAD TO PUT IT AWAY AFTER A FEW SECONDS.
AnatoleKirsanov More than 1 year ago
Hillary Hahn performs a great rendition of the Mendelssohn and Shostakovich violin conerti. I loved her performance in the more traditional Mendelssohn, and the Shostakovich was something very new and exciting to me. I generally do not like much of the modern-sounding 20th Century music, but this piece is very exciting and emotional. I would highly recommend this album.