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Paganini, Spohr: Violin Concertos / Hilary Hahn, Eiji Oue

Album Summary

>Paganini, Niccolò : Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 6
>Spohr, Louis : Concerto for Violin no 8 in A minor, Op. 47 "in modo di scena cantante"
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"This disc offers an inspired choice of repertoire, with performances to match. Paganini and Spohr were the two most famous violin soloists of their day, yet their music couldn't be more different. The former's First Violin Concerto is comparatively well known: a brilliant, highly entertaining essay in bel canto stylistics applied to the solo violin. Spohr's Eighth Concerto, "In the Manner of a Vocal Scena", is no less indebted to the Italian school, but it seems to have fallen out of the repertoire. More's the pity, because it's extremely pretty and very enjoyable, even if its emotional range is typically limited and its surface brilliance is perhaps a bit subdued for modern tastes. In any case, the two works go very well together, and Hilary Hahn plays them with sovereign ease and intelligence. In the Paganini she executes the fireworks in the quick outer movements with complete confidence. The Spohr is loosely divided into passages of "recitative" and "aria" while still falling into three linked movements--but these are not "parlando" instrumental recitatives (as at the opening of the finale of Beethoven's Ninth, for example), but rather "accompagnati". The melodic line is arioso, full of vocal ornamentation and rhetorical emphasis. Hahn certainly gets the point. She characterizes both kinds of music with plenty of extravert emotion and with a nice, rich vibrato. Excellently balanced sound and terrific accompaniments complete this very welcome picture. A joy!" -Classics Today (10/10)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
After nearly 200 years Paganini still poses considerable challenges but Hilary Hahn's superior technique surmounts them easily, the highest and fastest passages accomplished with clarity, excellent intonation and no compromise on tonal quality. The notorious double-harmonics episode in the finale sounds are wonderully secure and beautiful.

And Hahn's musicianship is of a high order; we hear the Concerto not as the patchwork of showy tricks and memorable tunes it often seems, but as a well crafted, unified work. Other violinists may have produced performances with more edge-ofthe- seat excitement but few have excelled Hahn for finesse. Rather than striving to present the soloist as a heroic figure, she's content, with sympathetic orchestral support, to let us hear the concerto as a beautiful, enthralling piece.

In the Spohr, Hahn plays the recitative sections with splendid, bold expressiveness, and in the brilliant final movement shows a winning combination of strength, delicacy and lyricism.

Her very slow speed in the first aria, though, doesn't work: the music appears to stand still, with a complete change of mood for the contrasting episode. It's an outstanding disc, however, and can only enhance Hahn's reputation.



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Works Details

>Niccolò Paganini (Composer/Violin) (1782 - 1840) : Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 6
  • Performer: Hilary Hahn (Violin)
  • Conductor: Eiji Oue
  • Ensemble: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 37 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1815-1816

>Spohr, Louis : Concerto for Violin no 8 in A minor, Op. 47 "in modo di scena cantante"
  • Performer: Hilary Hahn (Violin)
  • Conductor: Eiji Oue
  • Ensemble: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 19 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1816