Elgar: Violin Concerto/ Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending Hilary Hahn

Cover Elgar: Violin Concerto/ Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

Album info



Label: Deutsche Grammophon

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Concertos

Artist: Hilary Hahn

Composer: Edward Elgar (1857-1934), Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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  • SIR Edward Elgar (1857 - 1934): Violin Concerto In B Minor, Op.61:
  • 1Elgar: Violin Concerto In B Minor, Op.61: 1. Allegro18:01
  • 2Elgar: Violin Concerto In B Minor, Op.61: 2. Andante12:18
  • 3Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61: 3. Allegro molto19:32
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958): The Lark Ascending:
  • 4Williams: The Lark Ascending16:48
  • Total Runtime01:06:39

Info for Elgar: Violin Concerto/ Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

This is an oddly cool performance of one of the most overtly sentimental--indeed, gushing--pieces in the violin repertoire. In an effort simply to present, rather than interpret, the music, Hahn seems to have gone overboard--she plays with little portamento and vibrato, she keeps away from the music's soul. All that having been said, the playing itself is faultless, her tone lovely, and by the last movement her virtuosity is truly impressive. The classic performance remains Menuhin's, but Hahn and Davis and his LSO have much to offer here. Vaughan Williams' gorgeous-if-sappy "The Lark Ascending" is played ravishingly, with more overt feeling than the Elgar, and again the LSO add greatly to the pleasure with the woodwind section--and clarinet in particular--shining brightly.

"Violinist Hilary Hahn had made several critically acclaimed recordings before this 2004 outing, some of them as a teenage phenomenon. But perhaps it was this reading of Elgar's Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61, that served notice on the musical world: here was one of the foremost violinists of our time. The Elgar concerto is a punishing, long, difficult work that requires the player to keep hold of the long-distance plan while touching the listener's emotions at many individual junctures, and Hahn succeeds in every way. Elgar called the concerto "awfully emotional, too emotional, but I love it," and the fact that it was written for Fritz Kreisler has led some to prefer more vibrato-laden readings than the one delivered here. Elgar did conduct the premiere performance with Kreisler, but that did not close the book on possible readings, and Hahn's more Apollonian tone has spectacular results here. Sample the finale, starting about a minute in, and note the charisma and total aplomb with which she approaches the effusions of passagework and ornament. Her control over the long arc leads to exciting climaxes in both outer movements. Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending is a calm performance that will take the listener into the stratosphere for good, and the accompaniment to both works by the London Symphony Orchestra ranks among the great accomplishments of the aged Sir Colin Davis. Only inexplicably reedy sound from Deutsche Grammophon mars this masterwork, but the sound is still likely better than than that of the classic recordings with which this one can bear comparison." (James Manheim, AMG)

Hilary Hahn, violin
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, conductor

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Booklet for Elgar: Violin Concerto/ Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

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