An interesting and I think unique coupling. The Schoenberg Concerto has had a mixed press ever since it appeared. To be sure, it combines lyricism with much more angular and jagged passages, along with some of the loudest and most curiously scored orchestral passages in all classical concerti. It is said that Heifetz bought the music three or four times, worked on it and then decided, after all, not to include it in his concert repertoire. Whatever you think of it as a piece, Hilary Hahn is an eloquent executant. The accompanying notes make it clear that she has worked with it for some time, performed it many times and come to love it, and I think that shows. It is a convincing performance that carries you along (and some credit should go to Salonen, himself a distinguished composer, for that). As for the music, it grows on you more as you listen - it is well worth the effort.
The Sibelius, is, of course, a very familiar and very popular work. There are no special insights from Hahn here - she just plays it very well indeed. Her formidable technical self-assurance are very helpful here. Passages such as the closing pages of the first and third movements, which are often a little sketchy from even quite big names, are absolutely secure, to the benefit of the music. But she doesn't barnstorm it, and the second subject of the first movement, for example, is played at quite a moderate pace, more reflectively than usual. It is true that she plays the third movement very quickly but so accurately that it is completely convincing. In the second movement I prefer Mullova or, indeed, Heifetz, but that does not undermine the excellence of the whole CD, or indeed the 5 stars which it deserves.