For the Record, Op. 244: Hilary Hahn; Delirium Musicum; Aleksandra Bryla

July 13, 2023, 1:03 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Hilary Hahn
Violinist Hilary Hahn. Photo by Chris Lee.

Eugéne Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for solo violin
Hilary Hahn, violin

Composed beginning in 1923, these six sonatas are among the supreme feats of technical and musical virtuosity in the violin repertoire. "Just as Eugène Ysaÿe was inspired by Bach to write these six sonatas—and in doing so set a crucial milestone in the evolution of the violin—so too am I inspired by Ysaÿe to continually grow as an artist, to pour all of myself into this music and to commit myself fully to the pieces appearing on this recording," Hilary Hahn said. "The sounds you hear aren’t just the product of the notes on the page, but of a centuries-long artistic lineage that has led me to this moment in time — me, standing on my own two feet with just my two hands, a violin, a bow, and four strings." Last October, when Hahn was looking into the myth that Ysaye had written his six violin sonatas in an unfeasibly short amount of time, she discovered that he had sketched most of the works by late July 1923. Determined to commemorate both the fast-approaching centenary and her artistic lineage, Hahn decided to record all six sonatas. Before committing to the recording sessions, Hahn sight-read the complete score. Though she hadn’t performed the pieces publicly in years, she discovered that she felt entirely at ease with the sonatas, as if their music had matured within her since she last played them. With Deutsche Grammophon and Hahn’s co-producer Antonio Oliart on board, the first session took place on November 1. Hahn made time to listen to recordings of Ysaÿe’s playing, made shortly before the First World War. "I was transported, shocked in the best way. It felt like rummaging around in your grandparents’ attic, opening a box of family photos, and seeing your own face gazing at you from the image of an ancestor. Ysaÿe’s sense of gesture and timing felt like the blueprint for what I’ve been working so hard to develop independently and intuitively in my own playing in the past decade. I didn’t realize my artistic process was returning me to my roots. DNA is strong – even symbolic musical DNA." Read our interview with Hilary about this release here. BELOW: Sonata No. 6 in E Major, dedicated to the Spanish composer Manuel Quiroga.

Étienne Gara, violin
Delirium Musicum

"Seasons" is an exuberant recording of two modern works by composers Max Richter and Phillip Glass that reimagine Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Richter's "Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi - Four Seasons" and Glass's second violin concerto, American Four Seasons. "Max Richter’s composition grabs us by the tips of our bows and flings us beyond Vivaldi’s trajectory," said violinist Étienne Gara, and Glass’s American Four Seasons "embodies the battle between humans and the machine, with relentless rock bass-guitar motifs played by cellos and double basses and devilish electric-guitar style outbursts proclaimed by the solo violin." Los Angeles-based chamber orchestra Delirium Musicum is Gara’s next-generation, self-conducted string orchestra whose 21 members from nine countries, and this is its debut album. BELOW: Delirium Musicum and Étienne Gara play Max Richter: Summer 3 - Excerpt

W.A. Mozart - Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin
Aleksandra Bryla, violin,
Monika Wozniak, fortepiano

The inspiration for recording the album was the chamber works of W.A. Mozart, and it includes Sonatas KV 296, KV 379, KV 304, KV 378. They are all labelled by the composer as sonatas for piano and violin, leading to the impression that the piano plays the leading role. Indeed, the piano opens sections, presents themes, and shows its virtuosity. The violin frequently shapes the color, or even functions as a "character instrument." BELOW: Sonata in E Minor, KV 304 (300c) : I. Allegro

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.

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Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine