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Johann Sebastian Bach – Violin Concertos – Hilary Hahn, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Kahane (2003) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Violin Concertos – Hilary Hahn, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Kahane (2003)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 57:13 minutes | 1,12 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Deutsche Grammophon
Recorded: October 2002, January 2003, Los Angeles, The Herbert Zipper Concert Hall, United States

Hilary Hahn is not regarded as an early music star, by any means, but her recordings of J.S. Bach’s violin concertos with Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra are somewhat in the spirit of historically informed performances, and listeners who might have expected more mainstream interpretations may be pleasantly surprised. Some of the expected characteristics of Baroque period practice are here, such as fleet tempos, a small ensemble, bright sonorities, light textures, and an active harpsichord and cello continuo, and the versatility of Kahane and his group goes far to create this period quality. Hahn might have indulged in some free ornamentation and even added some improvised cadenzas, but her straightforward playing is at least clean and unaffected, and she deserves credit for her brilliant technique, which carries these pieces. While her approach to Bach isn’t close to Rachel Podger’s playing in authentic Baroque style, neither does it approximate the richer, heavier, “old school” style of Yehudi Menuhin, so Hahn may appeal to some listeners as a compromise between competing schools of thought. Deutsche Grammophon’s recording puts Hahn in a prominent, central position, so it’s easy to stay focused on her solo part in the big sound of this hybrid SACD. –AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

Hilary Hahn’s first recording for DG confirms her growing reputation as one of the finest violinists of our time, irrespective of age. This is Bach playing of truly extraordinary quality, from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as much as the soloist(s). Conductor Jeffrey Kahane and Hahn together bring an absolutely toe-tapping abandon to the outer movements of the E major concerto, and the central Adagio emerges as a major slow movement, pure poetry with the continuo harpsichord thankfully not too prominent but perfectly placed to add a touch of definition to the bass lines. Perhaps what makes this collection so remarkable from the solo point of view is the fact that Hahn doesn’t take the spotlight, front and center, but gives the music the chamber-like interplay and “concerto grosso” feel that produces a more “authentic” impression than many performances using period instruments. It goes without saying that her own contribution is extremely well executed, perfect in intonation, and she controls her vibrato in the slow movements in a way that never makes the music sound mushy or overly sentimental–but she remains very much “first among equals”. In the double concerto, she and Margaret Batjer match their tones with uncanny accuracy, and Hahn’s interplay with oboist Allan Vogel in the C minor double concerto is a model of what a gracious musical dialog should be. In short, you won’t find these works better played by anyone, or given more pleasingly listenable interpretations. My only quibble concerns DG’s sonics, which turn a touch hard in the violin’s upper register and only reluctantly permit a true piano in quieter passages, though given the extrovert nature of the playing there aren’t all that many of those. Otherwise, the recording is excellently balanced and clear, and this is in all respects an extremely auspicious debut recording for Hahn on her new label. –David Hurwitz, Classics Today


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Concerto for violin, strings & continuo No. 2 in E major, BWV 1042
1. 1. Allegro 6:56
2. 2. Adagio 7:07
3. 3. Allegro assai 2:25

Concerto for 2 violins, strings & continuo in D minor, BWV 1043
4. 1. Vivace 3:14
5. 2. Largo ma non tanto 6:50
6. 3. Allegro 4:13

Concerto for violin, strings & continuo No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041
7. 1. (Allegro moderato) 3:24
8. 2. Andante 6:45
9. 3. Allegro assai 3:20

Concerto for oboe, violin, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1060
10. 1. Allegro 4:30
11. 2. Adagio 5:21
12. 3. Allegro 3:14

Hilary Hahn, Violin
Margaret Batjer, Violin (#4-6)
Allan Vogel, Oboe (#10-12)
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Jeffrey Kahane, Conductor


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