Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Felix Mendelssohn, Dmitri Shostakovich, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra|
Mendelssohn & Shostakovich: Violin Concertos
Though at first glance these two concertos seem an odd coupling, Hilary Hahn offers convincing reasons for pairing them in her scholarly but rather chatty program notes. For the listener, the most important one is her avow... more »
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Though at first glance these two concertos seem an odd coupling, Hilary Hahn offers convincing reasons for pairing them in her scholarly but rather chatty program notes. For the listener, the most important one is her avowed love and affinity for the music, which speak through every note of her performance. At 22, Hahn has developed from an arresting teenage prodigy into a formidable violinist. Her technique is equal to all challenges and so effortless that one forgets about it. Her tone has the directness and intensity of a laser beam and the unblemished purity of fine-spun crystal. This carries over into her style: clear and straightforward, without fuss, external effects, or exaggeration--there is hardly a slide on the whole record. If her playing is rather cool, it's also noble and emotionally so genuine that she can make a popular warhorse like the Mendelssohn sound fresh and new. She takes few rhythmic liberties, but freely changes tempo for mood and expression: the second theme of the first movement is much slower than the rest. The Shostakovich, too, sounds new and different. A repertory staple of all great Russian violinists, it is usually played with a lush tone and unbridled emotionality. Hahn captures the work's bleak, lamentatious despair, the obsessiveness and sardonic irony, but her playing has the sort of fire that burns ice-blue rather than red-hot. It projects a sense of restraint, of pent-up tension and excitement that finally burst out in the cadenza. It is a riveting performance. The orchestra is very good, but often too loud in the Mendelssohn. --Edith Eisler
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A young virtuoso makes a gritty piece her own
Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 07/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"About two years ago I first heard Hilary Hahn do the Shostakovich live -- and liked it so much that I heard her perform it again a few weeks later. For someone so young, she really has an incredible measure of what the work is about. (Let's hope when she is older she will record it again.) Aside from her (apparently) note-perfect reading, she plays it a bit cool with her interpretation, which some have felt as an indicator that she is a bit young for this difficult work. I don't quite agree: her seeming reticence only emphasizes the more sorrowful passages in the piece, and this work is chock-full of those.
Hahn blazes through the final pages with amazing energy, and at times it seems that Marek Janowski and the Oslo Philharmonic will be hard pressed to keep up with her -- but they do, winningly. The Mendelssohn is also engaging, if as some have noted, the coupling of these two concerti might seem a bit odd. (I confess that as a piece I prefer the Shostakovich.) Never mind. Here conducted by the excellent Hugh Wolff, Hahn brings out the poetry and melodic invention that makes this work so enormously popular. And it could be argued that its relative sweetness makes a nice contrast to the violence of the Shostakovich.
Sony's sound is very good -- no complaints. Hahn is rapidly mowing down staples of the violin repertoire and proving she is one of the best violinists around. If you like these pieces, here is a great opportunity to hear for yourself."
Something Old Is Now Something New
Brian Hudon | New York State | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Is there really any need to go on, once more, about Hilary Hahn's increbible tone, technical mastery, and emotional depth? Yes! This recording is amazing and if you love the Mendelssohn and don't have this CD, buy it. The third movement is sheer excitement as Hilary plays it at a tempo and with a joy that other players either just don't, won't or simply are not capable of. And yet for all of this, Hilary Hahn pulls this off with her usual grace and humility. She is not showing off, she is simply that good. Not since Heifetz was recording on vinyl has anything been this good. This is a musician who is truly special. The Shostakovich is a great find and if you don't already know the piece this is a great introduction. Thank you Ms. Hahn!"
Another triumph for Hilary Hahn.
R. Nicholson | 07/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A great CD.To me, the first movement of the Mendelssohn violin concerto is one of the most perfectly structured pieces of music that has ever been written: then couple that with the haunting "Russian" theme and you have music that is both emotionally moving and gratifying. It just gets into your subconscious and affects your inner being. Hahn's playing was absolutely wonderful: her notes crisp and clean; the interpretation flawless.The lost of one star (actually ½ star, if it was available) was because of my concern with the audio volume of the orchestra; I found the principal violin occasionally (not often, but enough to be noticeable) drowned out by orchestra. At times the orchestra sounded almost blaring; just enough of a stigma to make this less than an absolutely perfect recording. The other offering on this disc is a work by Shostakovich; a piece I'm not particularly familiar with, nor as pleasing to my ear as the Mendelssohn. The work is technically difficult but Hahn plays it with style and polish. All in all, a CD with 2 violin concertos that is worthy of adding to your classical collection."