Day and Night February 20, 2003
"I like to put pieces together that aren't normally
thought of as being together, pieces that stand well on their
own but that also complement each other. Each brings out an
aspect of the other that might not be brought out by a piece
that's similar. But there is some reason why they relate to each
other." - Hilary Hahn
Hilary Hahn seems to have a sweet innocence in her playing
and yet at times she plays with such brilliance and sensitivity
it is breathtaking.
The violin concertos were chosen because they were born in
very different circumstances but are as esteemed today as they
were at their debuts.
The Concerto I E Minor, Op. 63 was composed during the summer
of 1844 when Mendelssohn was in need of a long summer's rest.
Here, the finale is played more quickly than it has been in the
recent past. The Mendelssohn concerto received its first
performance in 1845 and Hahn breaths new life into a finely
polished concerto. In this piece you feel as thought you can't
catch your breath.
Shostakovich's Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 77 is much
darker and was written in the summer of 1947. Shostakovich had
to become more resilient under a government who did not see art
for art's sake. There is a certain sorrow at the start of this
piece and perhaps it is a reflection of the frustration
Shostakovich must has felt as he had to conform his music to
please the most pedestrian government censors.
In this piece you feel that you cannot take a breath. It is
definitely more tense and yet it does break free occasionally in
a jaunty way and even expresses a certain repressed joy just
wanting to absolutely break free.
What a contrast. Hilary Hahn first learned the Mendelssohn
concerto when she was only eleven. This has since become a
staple of her repertoire. She considers both of these concertos
to be cornerstones and could not imagine her concert life with
Time magazine declared her "America's best young
classical musician," and she does bring a fresh and
beautiful interpretation to classical music. This CD follows the
2001 release of her critically acclaimed recording of the Brahms
and Stravinsky Violin Concertos.
~The Rebecca Review