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Brahms / Stravinsky: Violin Concertos

56 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 13, 2001
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$11.50 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Brahms / Stravinsky: Violin Concertos + Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto / Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 + Bach: Violin Concertos
Price for all three: $31.18

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Editorial Reviews

Hilary Hahn is not only one of the best, but one of the most interesting young violinists before the public. Even as a teenager, she seemed uninterested in displaying her formidable technical mastery, concentrating instead on the music with a seriousness far beyond her years. Now 21, she has become a thoughtful, knowledgeable musician and an arresting, involved performer. Both qualities are reflected in this recording, beginning with the choice of the two concertos, which are entirely dissimilar--except for being in the same key--yet make an excellent pair, and extending to the program notes, which blend personal reminiscence and scholarly research.

As for the playing, it is extraordinary. Technical difficulties do not exist. Even the most daunting passages, like the infamous G-major section in the Finale of the Brahms and the wild running-around in the Stravinsky, are dispatched with perfect clarity and consummate, effortless ease. Hahn's tone is intense, focused, variable, and of pristine purity in all registers, at all dynamic levels. She never loses her sense of meter or direction; her phrases have shape and elegance; and she needs no external effects. Her playing is austere and controlled, with an inward, noble expressiveness; she can change tone and mood on a dime. In the Brahms, the high soaring passages are ecstatic, the Finale is quite fast and very strict; only the Joachim cadenza is almost too free. Altogether, it's a most impressive achievement. --Edith Eisler

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77: I. Allegro non troppo23:15Album Only
  2. II. Adagio 9:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77: III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace 7:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. I. Toccata 4:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. II. Aria I 4:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra: III. Aria II 6:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra: IV. Capriccio 5:32$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Hilary Hahn
  • Orchestra: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
  • Conductor: Neville Marriner
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms, Igor Stravinsky
  • Audio CD (November 13, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00005RIN5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,312 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 1, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There's no need to point out that the Brahms and Stravinsky violin concertos are polar opposites musically, but they also pose contrary problems for the violinist. The Brahms is always played "big" for romantic drama, while the dry-eyed Stravinsky dares anyone to find a style that sounds exactly right. The composer seemed to prefer no style, that is, he wanted detached, objective, rhythmically strict playing. To most ears that makes for a very dry experience, so violinists add expression and hope they aren't violating the score, while in the Brahms they struggle not to sound like another Oistrakh imitation (fifty years ago it was a Heifetz imitation).

Hilary Hahn has found her way in both concertos. Her Brahms is small-voiced, deliberate to the point of caution (one is reminded of Menuhin with Furtwangler), and carefully molded. It's a bit like hearing Kathleen Battle sing Wagner, but overall her style works. Hahn's great virtue is consistency--she keeps all three movements toned down, even the finale. There is no gypsy abandon here, and the accompanist, Nevile Marriner with the chamber-sized Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, follows Hahn's lead, providing a subdued, lyrical background to her forwardly placed solo. I doubt that this reduction would carry well in a large concert hall, but it sounds charming on CD, and how often can you say that the Brahms D major is charming?

In the Stravinsky Hahn blends into the orchestra a good deal more, playing first among equals in a game of neo-classical counterpoint. Her expressive touches are small but definite; she is sweeter and more songful than earlier soloists in the part.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C. Razzell on March 2, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I purchased this disc for the Brahms, on the basis that it would be a sure bet as far as my own conservative music tastes are concerned. Besides, as a delighted owner of several other Hahn recordings for Sony, I knew she would bring her formidable musical intelligence, sensitivity and commanding tone to bear on an already familiar, well-loved composition.
However, I was unexpectedly blown away by the Stravinsky. Here the synergy and creative energy generated by the combined talents of Sir Neville Marriner, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the solist, Hilary Hahn are nothing short of miraculous. It really makes Sir Neville sound like he is 21 again, and Hilary sound as if she has all the experience of Sir Neville's 76 years!
The georgeous sound quality captured by the recording engineers on this CD is no more than the performances deserve. If you have an SACD player, you will want to benefit from the high resolution of the SACD version (B00005RIN6).
Whichever format you choose, this is one of those rare recordings where everything is right. In my book, this recording gets top marks for for musical interpretation and top marks for sound quality. Very exciting -- don't hesitate.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dupont on September 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Hilary Hahn has produced yet another beautiful recording!
This Recording of the Brahms is simply sensational, and my personal favorite, over ones by Heifitz, Perlman, Chang, Vengerov, and Stern. Sir Neville Marriner also works wonders with The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In the first movement, the orchestra steps up boldly, yet without an overly loud or overdone tone. Hilary steps up into the spotlight with a mature, steadfast, and dazzling phrase. She grasps the listener and holds hime or her there until the movement comes to a perfect close. In the second movement, Neville Marriner does a wonderful job with the woodwind scoring. The principal parts shimmer and glitter, until Ms. Hahn joins them as the most beautiful gem of all. Her arching tone sears in and out of different volumes, moods, yet keeps the serene peacfulness we can only assume Brahms intended for this movement.
I simply love the third movement, Hilary Hahn jumps in right away boldly and bravely. She plays it swiftly with just a perfect amount of aggresion. She really makes the violin sing, and the orchestra runs right along side her. Your breath is simply caught at the stunning finale, and She draws it to a awesome close.
But what of the Stravinsky. I can imagine that the first impressions can be about more varied than anything else in the world, from "Creative!" to "Weird" down to "Just plain stupid". It's definetely interesting to listen to, and it grows on you until it stands right alongside the Brahms, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn and some of the favorite concertos ever.
This concerto happens to have four movements, unlike most concertos, and MOST unlike most violin concertos.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rodney Hrvatin on December 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The very first time I heard Hilary live was at the time of her 2nd album (Beethoven/Bernstein). From that moment on I knew she was destined for greatness. In my mind, I find it hard to separate Hahn and Leila Josefowicz in terms of their immediate impact. Both choose to record standard as well as uncommon repertoire on the same CD (like Josefowiczs' Mendelssohn/ Glazunov recording) and both have near flawless techniques that show maturity far beyond their years.
This recording continues that belief.
It must be incredibly hard to decide to record the Brahms when so many violinists (both living and deceased) have recorded it before. As proven by many reviewers on this page, once you hear what is conceived to be the perfect performance, no recording will change that opinion.
To listen to Hilary Hahn play the Brahms is a mesmerising experience and this comes off the back of my studying of the instrument, the concerto and hearing it live and on cd many times by various artists. Is the fire there in the cadenza? Yup. Is the passion and commitment there? Absolutely. Is the technique there? You betcha. How can one ignore this performance? Hahn shows incredible depth and perception in her playing throughout her performance. To me, a good performance of the Brahms is one where you don't look at your watch during the first movement. I didn't.
Following on from the Brahms is the magnificent oddity of Stravinsky's concerto. An absolute gem of a piece and one which suits Hahns more aggresive (and expressive) playing well. The last movement (like the final movement of the Barber on her previous release) is worth the cost alone.
All the while Neville Marriner and the ASMF do a credible job with the accompanying work.
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