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Elgar: Violin Concerto / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

Edward Elgar , Ralph Vaughan Williams , Colin Davis , London Symphony Orchestra , Hilary Hahn Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Price: $13.14 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61 - 1. AllegroLondon Symphony Orchestra18:00Album Only
listen  2. Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61 - 2. AndanteLondon Symphony Orchestra12:17Album Only
listen  3. Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61 - 3. Allegro moltoLondon Symphony Orchestra19:25Album Only
listen  4. Vaughan Williams: The Lark AscendingLondon Symphony Orchestra16:19Album Only

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The 2013-14 season marks the 30th anniversary of Hahn’s first violin lesson. In the two decades since her professional debut, Hahn has followed her passion for adventurous programming, delving into core repertoire, contemporary music, and less familiar classic compositions with equal commitment; and bringing virtuosity, expansive interpretations, and daring repertoire choices to diverse ... Read more in Amazon's Hilary Hahn Store

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Elgar: Violin Concerto / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending + Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto / Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 + Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Bernstein: Serenade
Price for all three: $35.38

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Product Details

  • Performer: Hilary Hahn
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Colin Davis
  • Composer: Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (September 28, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B0002CX4Q8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,603 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is an oddly cool performance of one of the most overtly sentimental--indeed, gushing--pieces in the violin repertoire. In an effort simply to present, rather than interpret, the music, Hahn seems to have gone overboard--she plays with little portamento and vibrato, she keeps away from the music's soul. All that having been said, the playing itself is faultless, her tone lovely, and by the last movement her virtuosity is truly impressive. The classic performance remains Menuhin's, but Hahn and Davis and his LSO have much to offer here. Vaughan Williams' gorgeous-if-sappy "The Lark Ascending" is played ravishingly, with more overt feeling than the Elgar, and again the LSO add greatly to the pleasure with the woodwind section--and clarinet in particular--shining brightly. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hahn Ascendant October 13, 2004
By C. Roe
Format:Audio CD
While other reviewers carp about the Elgar Concerto as a flawed composition, I've always found it rather beautifully melancholic. Hahn is a superb technician (in the tradition of Grumiaux) and plays here with the flawless technique one also recognizes in her Bach recordings. Levine, in his review, faults Hahn for playing too "cool[ly]" in a piece known for its rather hot-house emotions, but I find her restraint, a quality found in all her recordings, noble in the Elgar. I've heard Hahn play this concerto in performance and found no difficulty experiencing the emotions Elgar recreates in his music, so, perhaps, that colors my listening to this disc. Yet one need only listen to the Lark Ascending to hear that Hahn has no difficulty communicating the rapturous emotion VW caught in this piece. No, Hahn doesn't gush as a player, but then, she produces such a beautiful tone through her faultless technique and lancet intelligence that gushing seems beside the point (and rather vulgar).
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine English Music October 6, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I have to admit that I own every Hilary Hahn CD and yet now, this one, along with her CD of solo Bach might be my favorite; but about the Elgar... Until this recording came along I thought I would own no other version than the 1949 recording with Jascha Heifetz. And now Hilary Hahn records a brilliant version of this somewhat "difficult to know" piece. Her playing perfectly matches the dark and emotionally wrenching Elgar concerto making it more accessible than it perhaps has ever been. The London Symphony Orchestra, as on the 55 year old Heifetz recording, is wonderful and shows why they are one of the finest ensembles in the world. And if the the Elgar is too dark, Vaughn Williams Lark Ascending brightens things greatly. Hilary Hahns playing is as light and as lovely as I have ever heard and soars just as the title of the piece suggests. This is sweet romantic music to listen to and daydream by with your eyes closed. This is a wonderful recording all around and worth repeated listenings. You will love this one.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical and Nostalgic (If you think it fits Elgar) November 19, 2004
By Al Au
Format:Audio CD
I did have great expectation on this recording as I think Hilary Hahn is definitely the best violinist to appear in the past 10 years as witnessed from her interpretation of Bach's partitas, Brahms, and Shostakovich. She is a rare instrumentalist in the present music scene with both flawless technique and remarkable interpretative power.

To review the present set, the most convenient comparison would be Kennedy/Rattle as this is a key digital era recording of Elgar (as mentioned by many reviewers here) and both discs pair it with Lark Ascending.

Hahn's entry is lyrical but restrained, definitely unexpected if you have heard her Brahms (that's why Amazon review writes "oddly cool"). And you expect the tension to build up but the atmosphere remain pretty the same in the final part of the first movement and even toward the end of the whole work. Though having a cleaner, more assertive and powerful tone than Kennedy, Hahn lacks the heat here. She is like a storyteller telling a story about a man and his destined to be in vain affection to a woman. But it is in past tense thus the mood is nostalgic. On the contrary, Kennedy thinks of himself as the hero of the story, his playing is intense with emotions keep pouring out. And along passages he can display unforgettable contrasts between painful love and extreme tenderness. This fits the spirit of the work when you think of Elgar's affection toward Alice Stuart-Wortley (the ..... and the soul being enshrined) when he wrote this music. Kennedy gives a more impressive interpretation here.

The key of playing Lark Ascending, in my opinion, is to deliver a soaring mood with beautiful tone color, especially in the high register. Hahn wins here with her clean intonation even though both play the work brilliantly.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, Mature and Restrained February 23, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I'll admit it - when I first listened through this recording, I felt a bit alienated. The concerto seemed to lend itself to a much more "emotional" performance than Ms. Hahn delivered, and as a result I almost wrote her off as a technician. The more I listened to the album, however, the more i came to realize that I never would have lasted through an overly emotive reckoning of the Elgar Violin Concerto. Hilary Hahn is miles more than capable of tugging at the heart-strings, as evidenced by her almost painfully sensitive interpretation of Vaughn Williams' "The Lark Ascending", so obviously her restraint throughout the Elgar concerto was intentional. (Not to say there are no melodramatic moments - the cadenza is fantastic, for example). Please don't misunderstand me: this is not a tentative performance by ANY means, and the virtuosity present is unlike anything else I've heard from ANYONE. After literally dozens of listens, I feel I've truly grown to appreciate this interpretation. It takes a rare restraint to play so technically challenging a piece with such an easy fluidity, allowing me to almost forget the violinist and lose myself in the music entirely. Ms. Hahn never allows herself to be trapped and bogged down by an overly emotional performance - far too often I come across young players who make their performances more a study of their interpretive and empathic prowess than a projection of the composer's will. Perhaps I'm just too young and jaded myself; I have a number of recorded versions of Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto, for instance, and I invariably find myself searching out the most "mechanical" performances in my collection. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I have never heard anything more beautiful. The depth of feeling...
I heard this performance of The Lark Ascending for the first time on the local classical music station in my area. Tears came to my eyes. Read more
Published 11 days ago by J Leath
4.0 out of 5 stars Hahn's The Lark Ascending is technically solid, and transcendent...
H. Hahn is one of the best , if not the best, violinists currently recording cds. This c.d. would be 5 stars, but Elgar concerto is merely average, not matter who plays the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by inthefoam
5.0 out of 5 stars This CD would be a good addition to anyone's collection of violin...
I was most interested in hearing Vaughan Williams: "The Lark Ascending" and went on to become enchanted by the relaxing vibes of the Elgar concerto, as well. Read more
Published 4 months ago by C.Harrold
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's Emotional, too emotional, I Like It!!
02-18-2014 The title of this review is taken from a quote by the composer to a London newspaper just after the premiere of his violin concerto in 1910. Read more
Published 8 months ago by NUC MED TECH
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Violin Concerto; an even better "Lark Ascending"
Ms. Hahn gives it her all, and while her tempos may seem a bit hurried in places and she misses some of the darker aspects of the score, she does convey much of the composer's... Read more
Published 17 months ago by John J. Puccio
5.0 out of 5 stars easy on the senses
it's great for someone just starting to listen to classical. not too over the top Easy to get into Relaxing
Published 18 months ago by kenneth d bryant
5.0 out of 5 stars The music takes you away
Hilary Hahn has great intonation and feel for the music. It takes you away to a peacefull medow with all the sounds of the Larks Ascending. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Rich
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it.
I love this. So many recordings I couldn't choose which one was best so just took a stab. It makes me think of cherry blossoms floating and that I should go to Japan.
Published 20 months ago by Roxanne Snell
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performance
Excellent recording of Vaughan Williams by excellent orchestra and virtuoso of violinists. A pleasure to be heard over again and again.
Published 21 months ago by thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars How does one describe Love?
Hilary Hahn's playing is sheer love. I first heard The Lark Ascending on WFMT, our local classical music station, and recognized that this was an uncommon performance. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Peggy E. Skarry
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