My guess is that she is one of several young players who will still be around 10 years from now. She is very good, but who knows how she will develope. As it is now I don't think she has come close to equaling any of the greats in the pieces that she has recorded. Time will tell.
19 responses Add your response
Beauty is in the eye/ear of the listener. She is a fine fiddler and one of the better up and coming stars. However;there are others in her league including Midori,Vengerov , Mutter,Chang, Shaham, Bell and others. Check the NY Philharmonic and the other major orchestras sites concerts of young great performers. I have seen all of the above in the last yearand she falls in the middle (in my opinion) She was very good, but some of the others may be better. Happy listening! Hahn has some well produced recordings out there but live I preferred others.
I studied violin for a long time and other than practicing occasionally I am pretty much relegated to listining to my tubes! Hence audiogon.
I was impressed by all the praise, so I bought her SACD (which won a prize) of the Brahms concerto. The way this multichannel disc was mastered is so terrible that I am not sure that I can give a fair evaluation. (She is recorded equally in Left and Right Channels, as if the recording were stereo, and is missing from the center). I bought another Hahn SACD, the Bach double concertos, and this one is mastered better. However the playing also let me down a bit. I have these Bach concertos on a CD that I keep in my car which I copied, and I don't even know who is playing, but I like it better.
She is obviously good, but her playing just does not impact me the way some other performers do. For comparison, I dredged up an old Decca CD of the Tchaikovsky concerto played by a young (in 1982) Korean woman, Kyung Wha Chung, and to my ear she is/was superior. Tops in my opinion was David Oistrach, particularly for the Tchaikovsky. My old Angel LP is just about worn out. Itzhak Perlman, before his fame and fortune set in, was great.
But she is young. We will see where she goes.
To each his own. I'd take Hahn over Bell any day. He's florid and affected, where she is straightforward and direct. Both characterizations are gross oversimplifications, by the way, but that gives you some idea of what makes them distinct--and distinctive. If you're into Romantic warhorses, she may not be your cup of tea.
Personally, I like her Bach, her Beethoven, and her Stravinsky (which may be the definitive version, by default). And I think she has at least one recording out on 5.1 SACD.
I beleive like others above that it's too early to tell about Hahn. She has been benefitted by great modern recording ( at least in Redbook ).Both her Barber/Mayer cd and her Elgar cd are good though not stunning.Speaking of the Brahms, I was recommended last week to an unknown to me artist Erica Morini,whose 1956 recording of the Brahms & Tchaikovsky concertos was jaw dropping.Look for this cd on Westminster.
Hahn has impressed me quite a bit in person several times; I have heard the Brahms live with about 15 different violinists, and her performance was on par with Mutter's at the top of the list (though quite different than Mutter's). She has very solidly grounded interpretation, pays close attention to phrasing, overall direction, intonation, and clarity, and plays with more depth and range than several of the other young violinists.
Her recordings haven't impressed me as much, though they are all good (speaking of performance, not sonics); she is just up against tougher competition when you look at the great recordings out there. She has great potential.
Interesting thread... I'm not so sure that Hahn is so young that she will develop appreciably in the next ten years. Even of the many other violinists mentioned (Bell, Shaham, Midori, to name just a few), much of their best work was done before the age of 25 (which, last I checked, is how old Hahn is). Unfortunately, it seems as though many musicians, once they "make it," are more prone to having "off" nights; whether this is because they are too busy, or because they stop practicing, is highly debatable. Given the amount of press and publicity Hahn gets, I'd say she's "made it," and I don't expect her to mature or develop very significantly in the coming years. Maybe I'm being a cynic, but that's my two cents.
For what it's worth, I think Hahn is an exemplary violinist, and she certainly deserves the success she has achieved thus far. I would echo the sentiments of previous posters, I think Kyung-Wha Chung is one of the greatest violinists of the last century, and definitely one of the most unappreciated. Try listening to her Tchaikovksy, Sibelius, and Bartok concertos, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Of the younger generation of players, I would also agree that Vengerov and Shaham are top notch. Some lesser known players who are terrific include Vadim Rapin, Soovin Kim, Christian Tetzlaff, and Frank Huang.
Eldartford, I agree with you in some respects... Many of the up-and-coming soloists these days are obviously very talented, and technically proficient, but something about their playing does not impact me on an emotional level. A lot of the older recordings out there may not be as technically clean, but at least it feels like those musicians were saying something. This is not a bash on every young musician out there, but it is a trend I have noticed.
My apologies for what has become a very long-winded response. In sum... I think Hahn is worth listening to, for sure. But, I also feel like there are several other young violinists out there who are at least her equal. And that's part of the fun of this hobby, I guess... Going out there and discovering new music, new artists, and new interpretations.
Rachel - We saw Vengerov perform the Ysae sonata's at Beneroya...ASTOUNDING! His EMI recording of those works is very much worth a listen. Along with Hillary Hahn, I'd suggest another outstanding young up-and-coming violinist: Lara St. John. Her Bach works for Violin solo is both an excellent performance and an outstanding recording.
She's very gifted technically; needs a little more maturing in her interpretations, in my view (I was not moved by her Brahms, though I did like her Stravinsky), but she definitely has promise. I agree with Eric above, there are many fine young violinists out there, only time will tell which ones are the greatest of their generations.
Back on 2/13 I suggested that David Oistrach is my ideal for the Tschaikowsky, and noted that my old Angel LP is about worn out. Following up on this, I looked for a replacement on CD, and found one on Amazon A Deutsche Grammophon reissue two CD set of Bach Brahms and Tschaikowsky. The Brahms and Tschaikowsky recordings date from 1954, and are mono. Excellent mono. But the Tschaikowsky is such an unbelievable performance, better than the later Angel LP, that I thought I should pass along a recommendation for this CD. I dont want to sound sexist, but Oistrach could play with all the sensitivity of the best woman violinists, but no woman, and few if any men, could play with the power and endurance he displayed.
Eldartford - For the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto also check out the older mono recording on Testament of Leonid Kogan's performance. Not the greatest in terms of the recording itself (tape hiss), but a wonderful and engaging performance nonetheless! Truly one of the great performances of this piece. The Prokofiev No. 2 on the same disk is outstanding as well.
Gregm...Get the 1954 recording I suggested. The mono is no problem at all because the music is so much a soloist's piece, and the quality of the sound is superb. (This from a multichannel advocate). Somehow they managed to lose all the noise as well.
I have a recording from the time period you mention, an Angel stereo LP, superb, but the earlier performance is better (IMHO).
In addition to the Brahms and Tschaikowsky, the Bach is interesting if only because David's son, Igor, joins him for the double concerto.