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Pauline Lerner

Hilary Hahn Plays Schoenberg and Sibelius Concertos

February 21, 2008 at 1:17 AM

Hilary Hahn plays Concertos by Schoenberg and Sibelius in a CD to be released in March, 2008. (I read about the release date for Hilary Hahn’s DVD, it came out about 6 months later. In the interim, I searched the Internet for any news about it but found none. Then people I knew started buying it, and I did, too.)

Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto is recognized as one of the most complex and technically challenging pieces for both violinist and orchestra. When Heifetz looked at the score, he declared it “unplayable.” Indeed, it is rarely performed or recorded. Ms. Hahn has become the Schoenberg concerto’s advocate, playing it in her concerts world wide and recently recording it. She knows that many listeners will hear Schoenberg’s music for the first time on her new CD. She describes the concerto as ”…not the spiky, inaccessible concerto it was once rumored to be. At heart it's exciting, highly imaginative, very romantic, emotionally poignant music, perfectly served by Schoenberg's novel approach to musical technique… I like the way he changes from one mood to the next…One moment will be very serene and removed and abstract. And the next moment there'll be a twisted, demented waltz, and then you hear a little bit of cabaret, a melody you could whistle.... and then you'll get to something that's equally wonderful but entirely unlike anything you've heard before.” Ms. Hahn believes that the Schoenberg and Sibelius concertos are well paired. She says “I wanted to pair the Schoenberg with something that would reflect its dark lyrical side, as well as its playfulness, from an unexpected angle. The Sibelius concerto seemed to me the perfect foil.”

To hear sound samples or learn more about the recording, go to

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