Customer Reviews


28 Reviews
5 star:
 (17)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ebullient Mendelsohn, probing Shostakovitch
Hilary Hahn is really quite astonishing! Start with the pacing of the Mendelsohn. The first and third movements are among the fastest performances I have yet heard, but because she articulates every note so clearly, it never sounds rushed - simply mercurial! This is beautifully, beautifully done. Tonal colors are like a fireworks display - kaleidoscopic and tailored to...
Published on August 11, 2003 by windsurfing_buddy

versus
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing technique
This is probably the most virtuosic and technically dazzling recording of the Mendelssohn I've ever heard. Unfortunately, it was too fast (particularly in the third movement) to convey much depth. The opening of the third movement is one of the most dramatic in the entire repertoire, but the drama/suspense was killed because she rushed through it. Even the timing is off -...
Published on July 18, 2006 by J. Powers


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ebullient Mendelsohn, probing Shostakovitch, August 11, 2003
By 
"windsurfing_buddy" (Albany, NY United States) - See all my reviews
Hilary Hahn is really quite astonishing! Start with the pacing of the Mendelsohn. The first and third movements are among the fastest performances I have yet heard, but because she articulates every note so clearly, it never sounds rushed - simply mercurial! This is beautifully, beautifully done. Tonal colors are like a fireworks display - kaleidoscopic and tailored to each phrase.
The Shostakovitch is probing. From the outset the violin tone settles into an otherworldly quality that suggests unspeakable tragedy. Moving through a searing second movement into the Passacaglia, Ms. Hahn, for all her beauty of tone and sensitivity of phrasing is let down a little by a relatively impotent orchestral brass section. I heard her do this concerto in Carnegie Hall with the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra and I so wish she had been able to do this recording with them. Their low brass opened the Passacaglia movement with a menacing snarl not even suggested here. That set off and contrasted perfectly with the sweet open tone of the violin, as it transformed the menace of the horns into the soul-wrenching soprano soliloquy Shostakovitch intended.
Hahn does her part but the Oslo orchestra or the recording does not. The burlesque however, makes up for any previous shortcomings and overall, I advise everyone to buy this SACD.
I have to admit I heard Vadim Repin (also a wonderful performer) and the Czech Philharmonic in Carnegie do this same concerto and Repin was similarly let down by the Czech Philharmonic as was Hahn by the Oslo Orchestra in the Passacaglia as compared with the Concertgebouw, so it probably wasn't the recording so much as the orchestra. Interestingly, Hahn was, and in this recording is, intense where Repin (that night, at least) was cool. I would have expected otherwise.
The Mendelsohn is truly sensational and the Shostakovitch very satisfying despite my quips about the orchestra. You really owe it to yourself to get this!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A young virtuoso makes a gritty piece her own, July 27, 2004
By 
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Mendelssohn Violin Concerto I've ever heard, January 11, 2004
By 
I had the great good fortune to see Hilary Hahn play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra when she was 14 years old. She absolutely thrilled me with both her playing and her stage presence. A lady behind me sniffed, "I pay my money to see stars, not children." I wish I had told the woman what I was thinking: "Lady, you HAVE seen a star but you're just too dense to realize it."

This is the best Mendelssohn Violin Concerto I have ever heard. Of the scores of times I have heard this work on record or in concert, none has come close to Hahn's combination of precision and passion. The extraordinary maturity of her musicianship reveals surprising depths to what is ordinarily an old warhorse. In addition to the solo performance, the orchestral support also surprised me with a power I never expected to hear in the Mendelssohn. The word "virile" came to mind, which I would never have associated with this work. But Hilary always soars with and above the orchestra. I played this recording for a musician friend and he was as excited by it as I was, and he too has since bought all her recordings.

I cannot recommend this recording more highly. I do not have enough familiarity with the Shostakovich to say anything about it except that if this recording contained only the Mendelssohn, it would still be worth it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very special promise and a glittering technique, November 1, 2005
The other reviewers here have touched on many points that don't need repeating about Hilary Hahn's silvery tone, exemplary technique, and fresh approach. Hearing her in perosn makes clear that she has charisma, a special gift of communication with the audience that keeps an entire concert hall silent while she plays. Her tone is rather small, very sweet, and naturally lyrical. She makes no attempt to produce a fat virtuoso sound.

This would seem to work agaisnt her in the Shostakovich, which is dominated by the classic interpretation from Oistrakh, biggest of all big violinists. But Hahn makes something different of the Shostakovich First Concerto, turning her back on its very Russian black sorrow and biting irony. The orchestra still sounds that way, but Hahn herself becomes a lone voice of lyrical balm, and the contrast is very convincing. Oistrakh was such a powerhouse in the long cadenza at the end of the slow movement that every other violinist since has been tempted to try the same huge approach. Hahn is penetrating, gritty, and wiry instead--it's the only time she allows herself actual grit. Her finale is mercurial, more positive emotionally than the usual biting slashes one hears from everyone else.

The Mendelssohn is lightness and lyricism all the way, which means that Hahn misses many chances for depth and inward phrasing such as Menuhin famously found in his classic postwar recording with Furtwangler (EMI). Hahn's mercurial swiftness becomes pure delight in the very fast finale, and her feminine sparkle (I mean that as a high compliment) results in a captivating performance that holds one's interest from first to last. Highly recommended in both works.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Technique Over All, November 9, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Miss Hahn has incredible virtuosity; some of the things she does here are/were not available even to Heifetz. Particularly, the down-bow stacatto passages in the first movement of the Mendelssohn have not been heard to such advantage before.

To each his/her own regarding intensity; the opening of the Mendelssohn has been performed with more power by several. This causes my rating of four rather than five stars.

Summing; very good, possibly exceptional to many. The SACD sound is superb.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Old Is Now Something New, July 15, 2004
By 
Brian Hudon (New York State) - See all my reviews
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than barbed wire and tanks, August 2, 2008
I have in the past thought of Shostakovich in terms of barbed wire, tanks, and icy winters. This, until the orchestra in which I play viola, performed his 5th Symphony. I was overwhelmed by the power of it, and by the deep sadness I felt in it, in parts. With this in mind, I re-visited other works of his, including the First Violin Concerto. I first acquired a version with Maxim Vengerov as soloist, and was stunned at what I had overlooked in the music in the past. I then purchased this album, since Hilary Hahn has been my favourite violinist for some time. I have listened to the last three movements by each soloist repeatedly. I find both performances to be excellent, but, on balance, Hilary Hahn's interpretation is more moving, and it is intensely moving in places. To my ear, her tone has a depth and intensity, even darkness, which fits the music magnificently. I am astonished that a person of her age (and physical statue) can summon such power and maturity in a demanding composition such as this. I highly recommend this CD.

I also recommend another of her CDs, "Hilary Hahn Plays Bach", most especially for her interpretation of the Chaconne. I believe this is one of the great compositions in western music, and I have heard no better performance than hers, again partly due to her wonderfully deep tone, but also due to the magic of her own interpretation. I have listened to this track many times, and never cease to be deeply moved.

I haven't even listened to the Mendelssohn concerto yet.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Hilary Hahn., July 2, 2004
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 ˝ 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have Mendelssohn!, March 1, 2009
For any fan of the violin, Hilary Hahn is simply one of life's joys these days. Her technique is staggering -- beyond even other virtuosi in the way Heifetz was a little beyond the other great violinists of the mid-20th century.

But Hahn is also a thoughtful musician. Who doesn't love Perlman, but so much of his work at this age was technically lush, but interpretively dry and dull. Hahn, by contrast, is a thinker and a risk-taker. Even if you cringe at her interpretations some times (and I don't for the most part) you have to admire her willingness to try for a fresh take. She will develop and develop, and I hope I'm still around when she is making her third and fourth recordings of these pieces in her 50s and 60s.

Anyway, this Mendelssohn is fantastic. The third movement alone is worth the price of the CD -- she takes a very fast tempo and just whips up this wonderful sweet confection.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch playing, mature beyond her years, November 18, 2002
Hahn's playing has progressed to the point where I will buy her new CD's regardless of the programme. I certainly didn't think I needed another Mendelssohn violin concerto on my shelf. Her interpretation is solid and fresh and stands up to the best of them. The Shostakovich, which is rarely played but has some incredible writing, is very solid if a bit cool. I prefer the Vengerov version for the Passacaglia but if you don't own a version, Hahn's will do very well. My only dissapointment is the playing of the Oslo Philharmonic, which is fine but not stellar.
Nit picking aside, this is a great CD.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Concerto Pour Violon/Op.64-Conc
Concerto Pour Violon/Op.64-Conc by Hilary Hahn (Audio CD - 2009)
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.