Hilary Hahn plays Johann Sebastian Bach at Alice Tully Hall

Sonata in G-minor, BWV1001
Partita in B-minor, BWV1002
Partita in D-minor, BWV1004

Hilary Hahn (violin)

Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski

Reviewed: 23 October, 2018
Venue: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City

Hilary Hahn performing in Alice Tully HallPhotograph: Kevin Yatarola / Lincoln CenterAs part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, Hilary Hahn put us into a trance with a demanding program of J. S. Bach. She was in top form throughout, conveying the quintessence of this composer through breathtaking technical mastery, flawless intonation and a rich, all-embracing sound.

In a well-shaped, intense ‘Fuga’ (BWV1001) she brought out the separate strands and rhythmic life without forcing tone, while the graceful ‘Siciliano’ skipped along sweetly. Hahn’s purposeful and direct style was never less than perfectly secure. Her seemingly effortless musicianship was especially notable in the B-minor Partita, not least the brilliantly articulated ‘Bourrée’.

The highpoint was the huge and immensely challenging ‘Chaconne’ from the D-minor Partita. Hahn’s structural grasp was beyond question as she moved from the stately opening through gentle then accelerating figuration to a spellbinding, emotionally powerful close. In response to the ovation, Hahn asked, “How much Chaconne is too much Chaconne?”; she then played it all again.

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