Elgar’s Violin Concerto has a certain mystique about it independent of the knee-jerk obeisance it has received in the British press. It probably is the longest and most difficult of all Romantic violin concertos, requiring not just great technical facility but great concentration from the soloist and a real partnership of equals with the orchestra. And like all of Elgar’s large orchestral works, it is extremely episodic in construction and liable to fall apart if not handled with a compelling sense of the long line. In reviewing the score while listening to this excellent performance, I was struck by just how fussy Elgar’s indications often are: the constant accelerandos and ritards, and the minute (and impractical) dynamic indications that ask more questions than they sometimes answer. No version, least of all the composer’s own, even attempts to realize them all: it would be impossible without italicizing and sectionalizing the work to death.
After her last two albums of completely new compositions, “Silfra” and “In 27 Pieces – The Hilary Hahn Encores”, Hilary returns with classic-romantic repertoire. Two-times Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn now combines Mozart’s beloved Concerto in A, K 219 – with its fiery “Turkish” episode – with the rich, virtuosic romanticism of Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 4.
"The sound of her violin in both of these dramatic, operatic concertos is like an ultimate contralto voice, ranging from a rich, throbbing alto through a warm mezzo to a light, clear soprano . . . the Swedish Radio Symphony provides polished, robust accompaniment for Ms. Hahn as she sails gracefully through acrobatic passages and unfurls gleaming phrases with sumptuous tone." ~NY Times