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.
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- UPC 696998992122
- Brand Sony Music
- Mfg Part # Hilary Hahn - Mendelssohn/Shostakovich Violin Concertos CD
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