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SACD Review

Hilary Hahn

Hilary Hahn, violin
London Symphony Orchestra/Colin Davis
Deutsche Grammophon Hybrid SACD 474873-2
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Don't buy this record. You can get the same couplings with Kennedy, Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on EMI 56413. I guess that about says it all, but you probably would like to know why I am so curt.

I think that a lot of the problem is due to the sound. It is detailed but has no warmth at all. In fact I found it difficult to sit and listen to. The violin sounds scrawny and thin. The orchestra is no better. I wondered if I was just having a bad hear day so I put on the Kennedy/Rattle recording. Whilst not as detailed the sound but it was warmer. Then there is Hahn and Davis. I know that Elgar felt the concerto was about a young girl and Hahn seems to convey a lively, active young girl. She forgets, however, that these are the reflections of an older man and his love for this girl. Kennedy and Rattle offer this kind of nostalgic feel, almost a Mahlerian experience. Davis tears into the music in an almost ruthless manner. There is no tenderness. Frankly he doesn't seem to have any idea what the music is about.

I have liked other recordings from Hilary Hahn but this one evokes no emotion at all. Kennedy and Rattle involve me.

Whilst this may seem brutal I happened to read the review in "Gramophone" and the writer pretty much said the same thing I have in other words.

Copyright © 2004, Robert Stumpf II