February 9, 2009 at 3:04 PM
**** I'm sorry about not getting to this sooner. I had a severe headache yesterday and one of my children is sick today*******
Ever since our move to the Indianapolis area about nine months ago, we (my daughter and I) have been anticipating seeing Hilary Hahn in concert. I had no idea until about a week before the concert, that she was premiering a concerto with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In fact, in order for the element of surprise, I didn't read any reviews or interviews about the upcoming concert.
I attended the premiere concert on Saturday February 7th which was the 2nd day of the premiere.
The concerto itself contains three movements; the first movement "1726" the second movement "Chaconni" and the third "Fly Forward."
The first movement started with a cadenza made entirely of harmonics. This harmonic theme would be present throughout the entire first movement. The theme started with the percussion in the bells, then moved through each string section of the orchestra. I was impressed by the series of glissandos that were exchanged from soloist to the first violin section. At times, throughout the piece, Hilary would have duets with the concertmaster.
The second movement of the concerto "Chaconni" was a very peaceful, calming movement. It was during this movement that I started to think about what it takes to premiere a work of music. I first thought about the musicians in the orchestra, having never seen or heard the music with the soloist until about 3 days before performance. From a soloist position, I thought about the pressure of performing and having the added pressure of being the first to play the piece, everyone after you would use your performance as an example. So it has to be good!
My thoughts were then interrupted by my 13 year old daughter who pointed to the orchestra as the end of the 2nd movement was at a close. She was pointing out the repeat of the progression nof chords moving through each of the string sections, moving counter-clockwise.
Before the start of the 3rd moevment, my daughter leaned over and said, "This is going to move fast." The orchestra started this movment and right away I noticed that almost every bar had a different time signature. I couldn't tell where the pulse of the beat was, so I began to look at the conductor and couldn't tell there either. It was one of those movements where if you dropped even a millisecond of a beat by breathing (in the winds) or miscounted you were off and couldn't get back on. Which is exactly what happened. Hilary leaned over to the conductor, who stopped the music, apologized to the audience and said she would have to start the movement over. The interruption of the movement in no way was a distraction to the performance. In fact, I thought it was the best movment of all three. It was played with zest and with great musicality. She really owned that piece!!
Of course, it was no surprise that people were on their feet cheering and yelling "Bravo" The thunderous applause was deafening.
As an encore, she played the Bach no. 3 Preludio which was wonderful! Again people on their feet.
For the second encore she played Der Erkerlog which... I can only say.. God I love that piece and I hope she records it!
If you ever have the opportunity to see Hilary Hahn please do, it is so worth the wait. I also would encourage you when you get her autograph to ask her questions about playing, performing, violins whatever question because she really does take the time to answer them. And, yes...she did get to sign my daughter's cast :)
The composer, Jennifer Higdon was there at the premiere and she was also very friendly. Don't worry violists...Jennifer says that she is going to write a piece for viola. Now, sho do you think would premiere that piece??
Did she sign your daughter's cast?
She did get her cast signed by Hilary and it came off today. She has been told by everyone to keep it.
The tech who took the cast off wanted it for his wall of fame: Peyton Manning, Barrack Obama....he said he never seen a Hilary Hahn autograph.
I'm impressed that he's heard of Hilary Hahn!
Thank you for your detailed description of the concerto! It's much appreciated by those like me who have no means of hearing it!
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