hilary-hahn-ds-v2-635x354

CLASSICAL, MUSIC

Hilary Hahn Unprecedented on Symphony Hall

November 14, 2013

Repost This

Airing Thursday 11/14 at 7 pm ET
Rebroadcasting Saturday 11/16 at 6 pm ET; Sunday 11/17 at 6 pm ET and Monday 11/18 at 10 pm ET.

Fawning never makes for good radio, so I will try and resist the urge–even on a Blog.  But violinist Hilary Hahn has created a remarkable CD, one that is an incredible accomplishment on several levels.

First, the performances are powerful – they will grab your heart with a vengeance when the music calls for it.  And just as easily, they will warm your heart. Hilary ranges from dark and bittersweet, to fun, humorous and absolutely joyous.

For the CD, In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores, the violinist commissioned 27 composers to write new works for violin and piano. Her primary goal was to add new music to the violin repertoire. But she had an additional goal. She wanted Encores. 

Traditionally, an encore is a really fast work of musical gymnastics, where the performer leaps tall buildings and shows (off) what they can do with their hands and fingers. Some encores are more artistically substantial than others. Others are pure fluff, similar to the nutritional value of fast food. (And that’s okay too.) 

This violinist, more importantly, wanted to encourage these 27 composers to reconsider the notion of what an encore is in 2013.  Should they be fast?  Should they be a show-off vehicle – should they be written to be played at the end of the concert to send the audience home on the virtuoso high? 

She left that up to the 27, placing very few restrictions. The work had to be anywhere from a minute-and-a-half to five minutes give or take. And it had to be for violin and piano.  

Second, the results are unprecedented. With this CD Hilary Hahn is responsible for the creation of 27 new pieces of music. And, like the performances by Hilary Hahn and pianist Cory Smythe, this is music that will grab you right away, making strong musical connections at first hearing not to mention second, third and fourth hearings…

Rarely have so many new compositions appeared on a single recording where many, if not most, are destined to be played, enjoyed and remembered for a long time to come.

I can’t stop listening.