Violin Concerto in A, K219
Violin Concerto No.4 in D minor, Op.31
Hilary Hahn (violin)
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Mozart recorded 4 & 5 December 2012 in Kammer-Philharmonie, Bremen; Vieuxtemps on 7 & 8 August 2013 at Gut Varrel, Stuhr
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: June 2015
CD No: DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 3956
Duration: 60 minutes
With a robust and nimble introduction, and ‘authentic’ leanings, Paavo Järvi and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen offer liveliness and precision to pave the way for Hilary Hahn’s rather romantic first entry in the Mozart. Nor is she hasty in the Allegro itself, and further good news is that she is given a natural and integrated balance with the orchestra: first among equals. Her playing is superb, full of incident and interest, vigorous and varied (in tone and dynamics) and the whole is enjoyable and enlightening. Hahn chooses Joseph Joachim’s cadenzas, which might be thought anachronistic and over-lengthy; however, her playing of them is charismatic. The Adagio flows persuasively while retaining its pathos, and at the mid-point really moves the soul, oboe(s) in tandem. The finale, ostensibly elegant, and nicely lilting here, gives way to the ‘Turkish’ episode, full of virility, surges and percussive bow-taps.
The D-minor Violin Concerto by Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-81) is in four movements, the additional one being a Scherzo (placed third). It’s a concise Concerto though in terms of duration, all over in half-an-hour (albeit seeming a little longer!), and opens as an idyll, if shadowy at times, tension in the air but brightening to a operatic outburst; only now, with four minutes elapsed, does the violinist enter, strangely alone, and then with recitative rather than melody. Indeed this first movement doesn’t really develop, and also manages a cadenza; however, Vieuxtemps gets away with it by continuing into the Adagio religioso, serene and chaste then impassioned (and the microphones have captured some birdsong!), beautifully played by all concerned. The Scherzo scurries delightfully, and the finale (returning to the Concerto’s very opening) then enjoys martial pomp, with pealing figures in the strings, and fiddle fireworks to end. Vieuxtemps No.4 is no masterpiece – but if anyone can ‘sell’ it, then Hilary Hahn is just the violinist to do so.