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Hilary Hahn Plays Bach


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Biography

HILARY HAHN – A BIOGRAPHICAL TIMELINE
“Hilary Hahn is a formidable musician. She astonishes audiences in performance after performance and recording after recording with her superb technical prowess, refined good taste and intuitive musical understanding . . . she is able instinctively to combine a highly assured virtuoso ability with a deeply thoughtful engagement with the ... Read more in Amazon's Hilary Hahn Store

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1. Partita No. 3 In E Major: I Preludio
2. Partita No. 3 In E Major: II Loure
3. Partita No. 3 In E Major: III Gavotte en Rondeau
4. Partita No. 3 In E Major: IV Menuet I
5. Partita No. 3 In E Major: V Menuet II
6. Partita No. 3 In E Major: VI Bourrée
7. Partita No. 3 In E Major: VII Gigue
8. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: I Allemande
9. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: II Courante
10. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: III Sarabande
11. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: IV Gigue
12. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: V Ciaccona
13. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: I Adagio
14. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: II Fuga
15. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: III Largo
16. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: IV Allegro assai

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

For all her chronological youth, violinist Hilary Hahn is a mature artist. She shows herself to be a capable interpreter as well as a fine technician in these unaccompanied Bach works--the Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006, Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004, and the Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005. This is Hahn's first recording; judging by her clarity of tone and thoughtful approach (as well as by the recording's deserved success), it will be only the first of many. --Sarah Bryan Miller

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 69 reviews
67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Compare to Milstein 11 Sept. 1999
By shantinik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First off, to compare this recording (made when Hahn was 16) to Milstein's Sonatas and Partitas (made in the prime of his career, and considered one of the 3 or 4 greatest violin recordings of all time), shows how much I think of this one.
Now to be fair, Hahn's performance of the Second Partita is not Milstein's. Milstein's Giga is much fiendishly faster (played without the repeats, as was common in the early 1960s -- Glenn Gould in his piano recordings of Bach always left them out too), and a true baroque gigue. And Milstein's Chaconne! -- well, it is always on the edge -- technically, and in the depths of human emotion, suffering, and transcendance it engenders in the listener. And this is despite the fact that he plays it faster. It is almost impossible to come away from the Milstein recording of the Chaconne without feeling both emotionally exhausted and exhilarated. This remains the definitive performance.
Having said that, the Hahn performance will always have a place in my heart. The sound is rich and full, not ascerbic and vibrato-free like Milstein, the phrasing is delightful (no one could ever claim she hasn't thought through, note by note, what she wants to do); the rubato is judicious. The mellower Chaconne makes it in some ways more enjoyable (you'll never want to sit through listening to the Milstein twice on the same day! but you can repeat the Hahn again and again), though the highlights in this recording are the Sonatas, not the Partita.
I have bought and given copies of this recording to budding young musicians as inspiration. (I'd only dare give the Milstein to those who are emotionally prepared - it should be "R" rated.) Hahn will be around a long time -- she'll get to do it again (Milstein's famous one he did when he was 54, I think, and recorded them again (less well) in his late 70s.)
Buy it. Put it away. Be prepared to take it out again to compare it to what she does when she's 40.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Youthful Bach 1 Mar. 2000
By V. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There seems to be an excess of hyperbole among the Amazon reviewers about this recording--they either love it to death or hate it and wonder why a teenager is playing Bach. Personally, this recording has attributes that merit both descriptions without quite meriting the passionate excess.
To review this, I directly compared Hahn's D-minor Partita with Milstein's. Lo and behold, the differences are what one might expect between an older artist and a youthful one who happens to live in an era where technical competancy is much higher.
Milstein wins out in the slow movements where his sense of phrasing and line draw one into the emotions involved. Hahn occassionally falls into the "slower is more profound" mode which causes her to lose the overall line. This is especially apparent in the opening prelude. However, Hahn plays with such a ravishing tone that one can frequently enjoy the moment.
In the faster pieces, Hahn is the clear winner. She remembers the dance aspect of these pieces and plays them with rhythmic punch. Milstein here falls into the "everything Bach produced is profound" mode which makes these too heavy.
In the concluding Chaconne, Milstein rises to greater heights. However, some of Hahn's soft playing is so incredibly beautiful. In addition, although her Chaconne takes longer than Milstein's, it doesn't fall apart--perhaps because the musical form is readily apparent and easy to follow.
All in all, this is a pretty spectacular debut by Ms. Hahn. She gambles by opening her recording career with Bach and, although she doesn't "get" everything in the music, she produces a winning result. Here is a young violinist whose career is worth following. And hopefully, she will remain brave and record things that interest her, rather than just the old warhorses. (Her decision to couple Berstein's Serenade with the Beethoven Concerto is an optimistc sign!)
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Bach at its best! 9 Dec. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Hilary Hahn's performance epitomizes Bach at his very best. I am apalled that anyone would think it as boring and dull! If you want a purely baroque sound with no vibrato and no rubato, then this recording is not for you. But the sound that Hilary Hahn can get from her violin is absolutely divine, and the energy in her recording is better than in any I've ever heard. Her phrasing is great, and her voicing is fabulous, especially in the C major fugue. Among the best aspects of the recording, however, is showing different voicings in a single line, which she does with amazing precision. If you love Bach, the real Bach, then this recording is for you!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely FANTASTIC! - And Refreshing 1 Feb. 2006
By James B. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This woman can play a violin!

I've seen mixed reviews on her. She definitely has her own style and if someone is going to try to compare her playing with Milstein, Szeryng or any of the other greats from the "old school" they will probably be disappointed. Hilary doesn't sound like them, nor is she trying to sound like them. On the contrary she is playing from her heart. She plays the music as she feels it and she does it wonderfully. It's not lacking in anything. Her virtuosity is superb and there is definitely a spiritual depth to her playing. She's very much "into" the music.

I'm very glad to hear someone who can play from the heart instead of trying to reproduce "old-school" expectations. This is what I'm looking for in music. If I ever get to the point where I can play these pieces myself I'm going to play them from the heart too and I'm definitely not going to try to reproduce how other people have interpreted them or believe that they should be played. To me, music is an art of expression, and the individual performer is supposed to play the music how they feel it. This is what music is all about. This is what Hilary Hahn has done with the Bach partitas and sonatas and she's done a magnificent job. She is an exceptional violinist and musician without a doubt.

I find her playing to be very touching and inspirational with great depth. I'm very glad that I bought her performance on CD.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Hilary Hahn�s unaccompanied Bach is the best 25 Jun. 1999
By Robert Epstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have been a great fan of Bach's unaccompanied repertoire for 25 years, since the time when a gifted professor introduced them to my class and described how some of them were transcribed from organ pieces. Bach combined some of the contrapuntal voices into single violin lines, and created resonances that implied the other missing voices. This creates the impression, when these pieces are well played, that there are perhaps two, three or sometimes four instruments playing instead of a single violin. Recently I found a complete recording of Itzhak Perlman's version of these pieces, and I admired as always, his sweet and perfect playing. But when I came across Hilary Hahn's recording by accident, my mouth fell open. Her approach to these pieces is subtly nuanced, full of space and creative implication. It makes Perlman, despite his own brilliance, sound like an elephant by comparison. Ms. Hahn's is a brilliant, beautiful performance. I can't imagine anyone doing more with these pieces, or with such ease. She is purely creative and unique.
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