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Hilary Hahn: Plays Higdon & Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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  • Hilary Hahn: Plays Higdon & Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos
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Product Description

The two-time Grammy winning violinist releases the world-premiere recording of Jennifer Higdon's 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning concerto, paired with the popular Tchaikovsky concerto.

About the Artist

Hilary Hahn was born in Lexington, Virginia, USA, and moved to Baltimore in 1983, where she had her first violin lessons. In 1985, she began five years of study with Klara Berkovich who had taught at the Leningrad School for the Musically Gifted for 25 years before emigrating to Baltimore. In 1990, she entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia to study with 83-year-old Jascha Brodsky, the last surviving student of Eugène Ysaÿe. Alongside her solo work and a deep interest in chamber music, she has also collaborated with non-classical musicians and can be heard as featured soloist on the soundtrack of M. Night Shyamalan's film The Village, on the album Worlds Apart by Austin alt-rockers . . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, and on singer-songwriter-guitarist Tom Brosseau's latest album Grand Forks.
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Digital Booklet: Higdon / Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos
Digital Booklet: Higdon / Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos
Album Only

Product Details

  • Composer: Jennifer Higdon, Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (September 21, 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B003YOMNCM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,457 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Van Vlack on September 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I would normally only talk in a review about my visceral observations of the performance as the Classical piece being played is often well known. This is surely true of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. However, since the Higdon Violin Concerto is enjoying its premier recording on this CD, it may be necessary for me to break my own rule this once.
The Higdon Concerto is done on a grand scale. It is modern in style (meaning you aren't going to be whistling it anywhere) but its subtle melodies are never obscured by the type of ugly discordance found in much of the non-romantic modern repertoire. The piece has a tremendous amount of power and energy that brought me many a smile on my initial hearing.
I also must say that if I did not have a hearing aid I would surely not have heard most of the beginning of the first movement as it is full of harmonics way above my age-onset hearing loss. The third movement is exciting, played at a breakneck pace that may have been inspired by Miss Hahn's performance of the Barber third movement. Jennifer Higdon was right when she said that it sounds like Miss Hahn plays the third movement of her (Higdon's) concerto as if she had six fingers! As for its beauty, you can judge for yourself. Music is felt in the soul and many parts of this piece touched mine.
As for Hilary Hahn's performance of both pieces she is in typically amazing form. The phrasing, tonality and technique in these pieces are flawless and inspiring. She has the refreshing ability to put the music above her virtuosity and turn the technically monstrous passages into beautiful and graceful compliments to the spirit of the piece she is playing.
Many have commented that the Violin in Tchaikovsky's concerto was not written in a "violinistic" fashion.
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Hilary Hahn, once again, gracefully proves her fearless and mature artistry through the daunting Higdon concerto and the very well-known Tchaikovsky concerto. It is clear that Hahn never settles for mere virtuosic ostentation. Turning away from the gaudy approach that many violinists take toward the Tchaikovsky concerto, Hahn delves into the music and interprets it in a restrained but most heartfelt manner. She doesn't wrestle with the piece; she dances with it and lets it speak for itself. The Higdon concerto is just wonderful. It captures Hahn's energy and artistic consistency very well. Throughout the two concerti, Hahn can be seen as either Athena in a tough battle shining with her wisdom and perfect control or a young lady in an idyllic landscape embodying purity and evoking nostalgia. Hahn's versatility is admirable.

It is, however, unfortunate that some listeners can't pick up this beautiful music in the noise of their prejudices. Some can't get over Hahn's physical youth and something as absurd as their own resistance to the Tchaikovsky concerto's popularity, to judge the music for what it is. I encourage you to listen to the music with an open mind and appreciate what Hahn has accomplished with this recording.
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VIOLIN CONCERTO by Jennifer Higdon has three movements. The music is substantially original, and to this layperson's ears, cannot be said to be derivative of any other composer. The exception is the glissandos, which were influenced by Bela Bartok's glissandos. Of all of Ms. Higdon's compositions, the one that seems most influenced by Bela Bartok is her piece, "Blitz," which is found on the NAXOS compilation featuring three Higdon compositions (Piano Trio; Voices; Impressions). For customers who enjoy being reassured that a particular new composition is similar to an older well-known composition, it can reasonably be said that the FIRST MOVEMENT of the Violin Concerto is similar to Samuel Barber's Concerto for Violin, and that the SECOND MOVEMENT of the Violin Concerto is similar to Symphony No. 3 by Charles Ives. One of the more interesting and intriguing features of the Higdon Violin Concerto is a strange sound that resembles that of people stranded in a deep well, calling for help. I cannot determine what instrument this comes from. (It could even be an electronic instrument.) The voices calling for help occur only in the FIRST MOVEMENT, where they appear at 36 seconds, 1 min 13 seconds, 8 min 43 seconds, 13 min 29 seconds, and 13 min 39 seconds, into the piece.

FIRST MOVEMENT. The movement starts with squeaks played on the high register of a violin. After a few moments, the squeaks are joined by bell-like notes. To me, the bell-like notes sounded like, perhaps, a glass harmonica or, alternatively, like some people deep in a well, partly filled with water, weakly calling for help like this, "Heeeelp, heeeelp." However, published reviews by music critics Tom Huizenga (Sept. 12, 2010), Mel R. Wilhoit (March 13, 2015), and R.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is simply amazing. Hilary, once again, never ceases to amaze me. The Higdon violin concert is a beautiful piece. It really shows off Hilary's perfect skill, especially the cadenza in the first movement. I've never heard anything like it before...ever. This recording is much better at displaying her dynamic contrasts. In her concerts she has the ability to fill the hall with her sound even over the orchestra or play so quietly that you feel the need to lean in to hear every note. This is the first recording of her that has captured a portion of that. After her release of the Shonberg and Sibelius, Hilary had really stepped up her game. She plays the Tchaikovsky with an entirely different interpretation and with amazing ease. Her approach almost cradles the music like a loving mother. Some sections that are played without much care by most violinists, are really emphasized and phrased properly.

If you are the critique that doesn't generally like Hilary, try this CD. You may find this recording exciting and fresh.
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