Hilary Hahn's new Paganini/Spohr CD coming out soon

December 28, 2004 at 09:28 PM · Hilary Hahn is coming otu with a new cd pretty soon that is Paganini and Spohr concertos. This seemsl ike a very interestiong combination, after her last cd containing pieces by Elgar and Vaughn Williams. Personally, I appreciate the high level of playing that she has displayed lately. Her playing has gotten better and better over the years and she certainly is a more mature and respectable artist. Well, any thoughts on this new cd? If anyone knows when it is coming out,let me know. by the way, a hi to all my Juilliard classmates. :)

Replies (44)

December 28, 2004 at 10:15 PM · sorry but i just cant picture her playing paganini #1. mendelssohn sure, but not paganini #1. its not that she couldnt play it technically great but in my opinion, i just dont think it would be dazzling or exciting.

December 28, 2004 at 10:29 PM · Greetings,

but Erika, we just got to the tme of the year for resolutions and maybe ol' Hilary work up and decided "this year I am going to be exciting."



December 28, 2004 at 10:59 PM · Hahn? Paganini? I'm not sure...I suspect one bland performance too...

December 29, 2004 at 12:25 AM · Go on Hillary, prove everybody wrong :-)

December 29, 2004 at 02:47 AM · Chris,

What was the information source? There is no mention of a pending release of this CD at the DG website, either as an imminent release or in the projected new releases until the end of May 2005. I would love to be wrong on this, but DG, her record company, does not seem to anticipate releasing this CD any time soon.

I believe Hilary is working in yearly cycles so we probably won't expect another CD until the second half of 2005. And I get the feeling that will be Mozart. But it would be great if she released two CDs a year.

Incidentally, although I am a great fan of Hilary's playing, I was a little disappointed with her Elgar CD. I also recently heard a live performance of her playing the Korngold Concerto and that was also a little disappointing. Here is hoping that 2005 will be a good year for Hilary, at least from this listener's perspective.

Incidentally, my feeling is that Spohr and Paganini would be right up Hilary's alley. I am only so far circumspect about her interpretive treatment of some late romantic and 20th century works. Even then, it's hit and miss. I have her Barber, Brahms, Elgar, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich and the only CD I have reservations about is the Elgar. But I think her exceptional lightness of touch, formidible technique and elegance as a player would well and truly get her over the line with Mozart, Spohr and Paganinni.

December 29, 2004 at 02:19 AM · i saw hahn play paganini 1 live, trust me it was not bland.

December 29, 2004 at 03:16 AM · She talks about the Paganini/Spohr in the newest issue of Strings Magazine. I, personally, think it will be a great recording! I'm really looking forward to it.

December 29, 2004 at 03:42 AM · Do any of you have Sarah Chang's or Itzhak Perlman's recording of the paganini concerto? I think they were quite young when they recorded it. What do you think of them?

December 29, 2004 at 04:19 AM · I have Perlman's recording of it, it's very nice and articulate but the slow speed makes it a tad dull...

December 29, 2004 at 05:26 AM · Chang's is fiery and fun! I wish my Paganini sounded like that. Mine is very...Very bland. Sometimes, it's even too much.

December 29, 2004 at 09:49 AM · Greetings,

please can we try and avoid personal challenges about other"s playing when they expres a derrogatory opinon about another violinst. Pretty please...

I don"t agree either though. I thought she had a real nice macho edge on the sound track for 'the village'. It actually woke me up.



December 29, 2004 at 01:49 PM · Hi,

I think it is great. I think that we forget these days that though Paganini was perhaps the first romantic virtuoso, he grew up and lived in the second half of the classical period, and in that sense, I think that Hahn's recording might be delightfully refreshing, just as Arthur Grumiaux is to hear (no comparison here... just an idea). Cheers everyone!


P.S. I agree with Buri on the derogatory comment thing for the record!

December 29, 2004 at 02:17 PM · Much as I like Hilary Hahn, I think she is doing too many CDs. I assume this is driven by her label and PR people to get as much out her popularity before someone else comes along. Some of her recent ones are no better (and sometimes not as good) as what is already out there. The Bach concerti one is a good example. Also, she is supposed to be recording

Mozart violin sonatas, but when I heard her do them in concert, her rendition was o.k. but not that interesting. I think she needs to take a break from recording for a while. Or, she should record something like Hindemith works for unaccompanied and piano-accompanied violin that will enlarge people's horizons simply because, on account of her popularity, they will buy it and the radio stations will play it (no offense Ilya). She should use her popularity for this purpose IMHO. Just my $0.02.

December 29, 2004 at 05:41 PM · Christian, I love grumiaux paganini too

Im eager to hear this also, what spohr? no8?

December 29, 2004 at 09:27 PM · Tom,

I actually think Hilary is not putting out enough recordings! I have bought every CD of hers bar the Beethoven concerto. So far as I am aware, she only released one CD in 2003. That was the Bach concertos. And her 2004 release was Elgar. Again this appears to be the only CD she released, not counting The Village which wasn't part of her "normal" DG contracted schedule but of course a movie sound track commitment.

Personally I don't understand how one classical CD per year can be considered too many. I wish she would would release two per year.

I'd aslo have to express a different point of view as regards your comments about her recordings not being better than what is already available.

For every single recording ever released, a huge number of people are going to say that it isn't better than such and such a recording that is already out. It's arguable on that sort of logic that since people like Heifetz, Oistrakh, Milstein, Perlman etc have recorded most of the violin repertoire, there wouldn't be much point any of todays young artists releasing anthing at all, since it arguable isn't any better than what came before.

As far as I am concerned Hilary is a unique musician with a unique sound and a very unique way of approaching things. In my view, a recording is always worth buying if it is different to that of other artists, and I have yet to find a recording of hers that I would not categorise in this way.

December 29, 2004 at 09:29 PM · Jonathan -- You are correct that she is releasing about one per year. I think that one per year is a bit much, IMHO, particularly when she is going over very well-trod territory. If she wants to release one or two per year and delve into some areas that could use more exposure, e.g., Hindemith, and where her popularity might significantly expand the audience for those works, fine by me. Otherwise, I am not in favor. Let her wait until she is more mature and has something truly interesting to say about some of these pieces.

December 29, 2004 at 09:33 PM · Scrub this post...Tom edited his last post!

December 30, 2004 at 12:32 AM · I think Hilary Hahn has recieved entirely unfair criticism lately.

Over the past several years, people have these odd premonitions that since the death of Stearn, the age of violinists is over, and don't give new, young artists a fair chance.

December 30, 2004 at 01:39 AM · i have nothing against contemporary violinists, i think they play wonderfully, for the most part. many of my favorite recordings are by contemporary violinists, i just dont really find hahn very interesting.

December 30, 2004 at 06:29 AM · And the star for Owen is not because I agree that Hahn is uninteresting. I don't. Personally I find her playing extremely interesting and refreshing. The point, however that needs emphasising is like Owen says. People are mistaking criticism of modern players as not giving them a fair go. For Owen to have formulated his opinion, he had to have given her a fair go in the first place. Otherwise he would not know how she plays and therefore wouldn't be qualified to say anything. Players of all eras get criticised - it's not just contemporary performers. You only have to go through old posts to see people's starkly contrasting views on all players from all eras. I really don't think there is such a thing as unfair criticism, unless the person criticising fails to provide any explanation as to what precisely they are critical of and why. And you don't have to agree on that explanation either, in much the same way all our preferred tastes in food are different. The vast majority of criticism on this website levied against players is in my view quite adequately explained. And to me that is what is important. The soloists we routinely discuss in these forums became that largely through choice and it would be pretty naive to think they could get up on stage every other day and not cop criticism from one quarter or another. It's just part and parcel of the profession. Critics have been around for very long time, whether they write for the newspapers and magazines or submit posts on this website.

December 30, 2004 at 10:43 AM · Wow...hahn playing paganini...i mean i know for sure she can pull it off but i am not sure if I would like her interpretation. I really see her more as a "beautiful/musicallality" oriented player. I would definetely buy the album though, just to see what kind of spin she puts on the paganini but I really don't know if it will sound as virtuosic as Chang's recording or Perlman's or Accardo's... As of now, I would think that Hahn would play the Paganini with as much intensity as Brahms or Shostakovich instead of just letting loose and instead of musicality, focus on technicality...

Don't get me wrong, I really prefer Hahn's Brahms to Chang's (i heard Chang play it live once) because she plays so musically. but i prefer chang's firey and exciting virtuosic recordings as apposed to hahns...

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

December 30, 2004 at 03:18 PM · I wasn't giving criticism to Owen's view. By "unfair cricitism", I mean that it seems harder and harder to be "new" to the violin buisiness, be you a new player, or luthier for that matter.

December 30, 2004 at 06:30 PM · I actually had the opportunity to watch her perform the Paganini #1 with the Virginia Symphony back in September. I have to say, I was very VERY impressed. When I look at the order she decides to record pieces, she does it in a good sequential order - without being such a "showy-romantic" prodigy. I highly respect that, which makes her my favorite performer out there.

I'm so excited!!!

December 30, 2004 at 08:56 PM · You can sort of see what CDs she'll come out with next time by her concert schedules. Before her release of the Barber/Meyer Concertos, for example, she crammed her concert schedule with multiple performances of the two pieces over a course of many weeks in many different cities. I have been anticipating her releasing a Paganini recording lately, but I figured she might complement it with the Chausson Poeme. As to her not being able to "dazzle" listen to the last movement of her Brahms or Barber. Exciting neh?

December 30, 2004 at 10:46 PM · i dont like her brahms, but the last movement of her barber is definetely very exciting.

December 31, 2004 at 03:29 PM · i looove her brahms

January 11, 2005 at 01:37 AM · I am just curious if anyone has a website that proves her next recording is of Paganini. I was recently at a concert where she played Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1 (in Milwaukee)and she said at this concert that her next recording was going to be Mozart's Violin Sonatas.

January 11, 2005 at 01:46 AM · check out the newest issue of strings (with hahn on the cover). it talks about it there...perhaps there may be something on the strings website.

January 11, 2005 at 01:51 AM · http://www.stringsmagazine.com/issues/Strings125/coverstory.html

she says she'll record the Paganini after the Mozart sonatas recording.

January 11, 2005 at 02:03 AM · Awesome. Thanks for the info Marty.

January 11, 2005 at 03:53 AM · Oddly enough, I tend to think that Hahn puts TOO much emphasis on being exciting-- her Mendelssohn is so flashy.

January 16, 2005 at 03:17 AM · I just heard Hahn in my city. I have all her Cds and I'm quite certain she's one of the best Violinists I have ever heard. Of course Kogan and Grumiaux were also great, and Milstein, who's solo Bach is still top.

However, Hilary Hahn's Modern Russian technique is really space age, and her tone production very pure and striking... her Elgar CD is astounding, and when I read negative reviews of it I really see people talk about things they do not understand.

Paganini and especially Spohr are going to be valuable additions to the Concerto field ; I wish more top Violinists would record Spohr / De Beriot / Viotti and Rode Concerti instead of 10,000 versions of Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn.

R Herrera Wps, Bristol UK

January 16, 2005 at 08:52 AM · Hi!

I saw Hilary play the Paganini last Saturday and she slayed me.

Extraordinary phrasing, no flaws, perfect sound of the harmonics in the 3rd movement...

The cadenza was unbelievable, after the 1st movement the audience freaked out, cheering and shouting...

The conductor was Eiji Oue (who is conductor of the "Radio-Philaharmonie Hannover" of the NDR), with whom she is going to record it.

Her upcoming CD though will be the Mozart violin sonatas which she recorded last year together with Natalie Zhu. The editing of this CD is already done, so it will probably come out in the middle of this year.

The Paganini, I guess, not until 2006, but I really hope earlier. That's what I know.

I don't like Perlman's recording and can't really find one that I like, except for Mehuhin's from 1934. But the quality is terrible.

What are your favorite recordings of this concerto?

I always hoped for a piano/violin CD from Hilary but I'm not so sure about the Mozart. What do you think?

January 26, 2005 at 06:16 AM · I saw Hilary Hahn live one time and she put me to sleep really fast. I mean, she must've been 8 minutes into the performance and I was out cold. I want to hear her play some Paganini.

January 27, 2005 at 10:59 AM · Tim, my favourite Paganini 1 recording is Jean Jaques Kantorow, it is miles better than most recordings I have heard. His phrasing is perfect, and technique has to be heard to be believed! Also I like Kogans playing. But Mullova IMO recorded the best cadenza.

January 28, 2005 at 01:06 AM · Oh boy, yet another recording of the Paganini #1! lol I have a manuscript cadenza by Johann Heinrich Beck if anyone would like to play something different Cadenza-wise. If I hear the Sauret cadenza one more time, I'll burst into flames! lol

January 28, 2005 at 04:13 AM · Do you have a scanner :)

January 28, 2005 at 04:18 AM · Tim Johannessen,

I highly recommend Ivry Gitlis' recording of the Paganini 1 (and 2) with Stanislaw Wislocki and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra - Gitlis is truely the God of Paganini - I'd be happy to provide you with it if you want. Kogan as well is amazing - flawless technique and a tone that one can die for. The Menuhin 1934 version is amazing but I agree - the fuzz and bad recording technology of that age somewhat distorts Menuhin's youthful virtuosity.



January 28, 2005 at 11:45 PM ·

February 18, 2005 at 01:02 AM ·

February 18, 2005 at 02:04 AM · I'm impressed at the range of articulate critique, be it occasionally trivial - but often insightful, focussed on the upper tier of players.

Personally, at the level where technical competence has been achieved I think all the better players have their own something to say that's usually worth listening to. Might not always find it agreeable, but at least they can make their statement. Maybe someday I might make a brief visit to that platform. In that likely eternal meantime I'll think of something articulate and insightful to say.

- Those who can't ...

February 19, 2005 at 06:06 AM · I have a ticket to a performance by Hilary Hahn tomorrow night. She's going to play the Prokofiev Concerto. I've never heard her live and I'm excited. I'll post my reactions to the concert.

As a follow up, I have a ticket to a performance by Itzhak Perlman the following night. :-)

February 19, 2005 at 08:21 AM · Pauline,

You lucky thing.


May 20, 2005 at 07:50 PM · hey

most of you know this probably but...I was goofing around the hahn website and bumped into this dvd on her website

Last Night of the Proms

she plays mozart 4 and the bach g min presto and you all should run not walk to the store and get it now

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