Hilary Hahn Bach Concertos (Hybrid SACD)
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Welly Wu

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Hilary Hahn gives a rousing and impeccable performance of Bach's Concertos in her latest album entitled Bach Concertos which is available for purchase as a Hybrid Super Audio CD. Her brilliance shines in her careful treatment of Bach's Concerto for Violin, Strings, and Continuo in E major, BWV 1042. Comprised of three tracks totalling sixteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds in length, her prodigy is plainly evident as she delicately balances her own gusto with delicately slow and tempered bow strokes on the first track. Then, she abruptly switches to a much faster tempo to jolt her listeners from their state of ease in tracks two and three. Herein, she captivates her audience with rapturous playing that is reminiscent of yet another woman violinist possessed (Rachel Podger). Yet, she has enough sensibility to not give offense to listeners who simply want a "rock 'n roll" performance of classical music; no, she flatly refuses to give into one mode of interpretive playing by preserving the iridescent splendor of Bach's music and she employs variegated approaches to each piece. In fact, Hahn lends credence to the distinct character and shape of each piece as an alive and independent spirit.

I can go on and on with this jewel of an album but I will leave it up to you to discover the other hidden treasures awaiting your listening pleasure.

As to the technical merits of the album, it is a Super Audio CD containing both a Stereo and Surround version as well as a Red Book CD layer. It is my opinion that the level of musicianship of Hahn in her latest album is par excellence - this is her best performance in my entire collection. The SA-CD version is a real sonic treat because it captures the quintessential majesty of Bach's genius for composition as expertly interpreted by Hahn and company. I do have one small caveat: this album requires continous rotation through your audio system and it may very well turn the tide for me in my lone quest as a staunch proponent for the DVD-Audio format.
 
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Tyson

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Great call on this CD Welly. I have it and it is very, very good. Hahn really nails them. The fact that she can play so quickly and with such vibrancy in the fast movements and with such heartfelt emotion in the slow movements is testament to her talent and musical maturity. The recording is also great. I have probably a dozen different recordings of the Bach violin concertos and this is my favorite.

Check out her recordings of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, it is at a similar level of acheivement. In fact I would put her on par with Bell and Schneiderhan and that's saying something!!

IMO, Hahn is the Heifetz of our time, just like Joshua Bell is the Oistrakh. It's interesting that they are both hitting artistic peaks at a similar time period and it's fun to compare/contrast their readings of the violin repertoire.
 
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Welly Wu

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I have been looking into Joshua Bell too. I guess I will go get some of his work. I am just waiting for my UE-10 PROs to be shipped back to me with extra goodies.
 
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Tyson

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Bell is especially good in the Beethoven and the Brahms violin concerto's. In fact he's my favorite in the Brahms, period, beating out Oistrakh for the top spot.
 
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ckng

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Thanks for the write up Welly. I just bought the redbook version of this CD (I don't have a SACD player, and no point buying SACD to play just the redbook
) and it's indeed excellent in terms of both Hahn's performance as well as the recording.

Regards
CK
 
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go_vtec

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Excellent review Welly! I own all of her recording and by far this is one of her very best work ever with best recording quality. If you go to her website, you can see interviews and recording sessions (kinda interesting to see 5 microphones around her). However my favorite album of Hilary Hahn is Mendelssohn & Shostakovich which nick named by many as icy-blue/blue-ice. She was so fast and aggressive, it gives me goose bumps whenever I hear it through CD3K and solid state amp. Although some may argue that it sounds a bit rushed


[edit: added a word quality]
 
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I have the SACD hybrid disc. Hilary Hahn plays well, as she always does, but after a few listens I shelved it and didn't take it out again. I have other recordings of the Bach violin concertos which I far prefer. I find her playing much too rushed, fast, and I just feel that the speed at which she plays some of the pieces takes away from some of the musical texture of the concertos. The tempo is unusual, and I was quite upset by this. Also, her phrasing is not pleasing to these ears. Her intonation, however, is perfect.


just my opinion, probably because I prefer sentiment over excitement.
 
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AndreYew

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Count me in as another Hilary Hahn fan --- heard live, the colors and focus of sound she can produce on her violin is amazing. I don't think this has really been captured on any of her recordings.

My favorite HH recordings are the Brahms/Stravinsky (the opening of the the Brahms 2nd movement is especially lovely, and the Stravinsky has a bite and momentum to it I've not heard elsewhere), the Barber (the 3rd movement is so fast, it sounds like a different work with all these pointillistic effects), and the Bach solo violin CD, her very first recording. The others are also very good, but these three stand out in my mind. BTW, if you are easily amused, the solo violin parts of the Shostakovich CD will randomly light up HDCD lights --- I guess HDCD's encoding scheme isn't as rare as they thought it would be.

--Andre
 
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scottder

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*makes note of this to pick up next time he is hout buying CDs* Gotta get more use out of my SACD player.

Scott
 
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robert

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at 20 bucks, sorry. not going to drop that much on a CD. i have other of her discs, and like a lot.

what was that about BMG cutting prices?? and that all the others would follow suit??

anybody been paying less for CDs this year??

didn't think so.
 
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Oistrakh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyson
Bell is especially good in the Beethoven and the Brahms violin concerto's. In fact he's my favorite in the Brahms, period, beating out Oistrakh for the top spot.


What, comparing bell to oistrakh, What... Oistrakh was the king of violinists, joshua bell sounds like the typical julliard grad...
 
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I have this CD too. Redbook. Very nice.
 
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