SIBELIUS Violin Concerto Hahn Salonen

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ARNOLD SCHOENBERG

Violinkonzert
Violin Concerto
+ Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Hilary Hahn
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Int. Release 03 Mar. 2008
1 CD / Download
CD DDD 0289 477 7346 7 GH


Tracklisting

Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951)
Violin Concerto, Op.36

Jean Sibelius (1865 - 1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47

Hilary Hahn, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

Gesamtspielzeit: 1:02:56

Whether we are Schoenberg friends or detractors, all of us need this recording . . . She's made them her own, found their heart, and reconnected the 12-tone Schoenberg with the late Romantic composer he used to be (and, deep down, always remained). No other recording can beat this disc for richness and clarity of sound, for the soloist's passion, or the orchestra's glow. Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and they mean every note just as much as Hahn does . . . [Sibelius]: Few recorded accounts have been as empathetic, as Scandinavian, as this. Time and again woodwinds glower through orchestral textures speckled with details usually kept hidden. The colour kaleidoscope is extraordinarily varied and Hahn never appears the American tourist clutching a guidebook. She's embedded, as Sibelian as anyone in her brooding beauty and fervour. Salonen's crunched final chords seem an ideal way to end the first movement's contradictory moods . . . by hearing this concerto after the Schoenberg, all attractions are sharpened: Sibelius may be the more overt melodist, but in his structural procedures and orchestral colouring he too was a modernist. Hahn and Salonen's forthright ardour serves both concertos superbly. And the disc is very well recorded. No need to hesitate.

Violinist Hilary Hahn and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen have combined their estimable artistry in a new recording of Schoenberg and Sibelius Concertos for Deutsche Grammophon . . . The 28-year-old American violinist unfurls the soaring melodies of the first movement while bringing the detail of musical cloisonne to pages that are closer to chamber than orchestral music, including a snappy little duet with snare drum in the Finale. Few violinists today can rival her faultless intonation or her tenacious pursuing of a musical line. The musicians of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, under Salonen, play their part, individually and en masse, showcased in a superlative recording. Salonen has been taking his complete Sibelius symphonic cycle around various concert halls of late and the Finn is the perfect ally for Hahn in the composer's Concerto, providing sturdy Sibelian architecture as a backdrop for her beautifully considered reading.

Nothing seems to faze Hilary Hahn in the usually fearsome Schoenberg Violin Concerto. The American violinist brings exceptional poise, precision and nuance to this complex, fascinating work. Her commitment also can be discerned in a shimmering account of the Sibelius Violin Concerto that brings the work into lucid focus. Hahn collaborates with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra as if they're joined at the artistic hip.

In what remains a formidable challenge, Hahn's success stems not merely from the degree to which its technical demands have been surmounted . . . The sound has exemplary clarity and realism, while Roger Ruggeri's introductory note complements Hahn's on her relationship to both works: a process of engagement that has led to one of the most significant concerto discs in recent years.

With her light, focused tone and warm phrasing, she brings out the wit, playfulness and tunefulness of this 12-tone masterpiece . . . Hahn makes a case for Schönberg as one of the last great romantics . . . she does many beautiful things -- especially in quieter moments. The second movement is so beautifully sustained that it seems to be sung by a great mezzo-soprano.

. . . she makes the underplayed masterpiece sound like child's play and as lyrical as the Sibelius also featured on her new CD . . . The gorgeous cadenzas alone sound blessed by Paganini, especially since Hahn plays an 1864 replica of the Italian's instrument . . . her sensuous and nuanced performance demonstrates, Schoenberg's concerto is not a mathematical formula of harrowing dissonances but a deeply personal, expressive work, hardly Twilight Zone for the ears . . . Salonen sculpts the delicate balances between the violin and orchestra with utmost care . . .

. . . Schoenberg¿s concerto . . . has never attracted a champion capable of truly selling it. Until now. That Hahn is in perfect technical control comes as no surprise, but what makes this disc so vital is the way she homes in on the melancholy gravity at the core of this music . . . one of the most sizzling Sibelius performances on record . . . the first mandatory classical disc of 2008.

. . . Hilary Hahn . . . attacks it with a fervent bravura very different from her usual Olympian coolness . . . It's sensational to have this monumental piece played with such security and panache. And you can't accuse Mr. Salonen of over-manicuring the Schoenberg . . . Neither orchestra nor soloist downplays the aggressive dissonances, but they get the romanticism underneath, too. Maybe this is the breakthrough that will clue audiences in on one of the very greatest concertos of the 20th century.

At the ripe age of 28, Hahn has been a world-class violinist for more than a decade. How much more potential she has is shown by this venturesome disc with Esa Pekka Salonen and the Swedish Radio Symphony. Pairing the spiky Schoenberg and the brooding, soulful Sibelius, Hahn brings off both with dazzling pyrotechnics and a fierce lyricism.

The Schoenberg is simply astonishing. From one read-through with the score I get the impression that every single note of the solo part is firmly in place -- and we're talking about one of the most phenomenally challenging pieces of violin writing that ever got a toe-hold on the repertoire. But it's not just Hilary Hahn's accuracy and stamina that make you feel like leaping out of your seat at the end. Hahn and Esa-Pekka Salonen also show how much beauty and brilliance there is in this work. The orchestration can be fiercely dazzling one minute, exquisite the next. And if 'beautiful atonal lyricism' reads like a multiple contradiction in terms, try Hahn in the first couple of minutes of the slow movement . . . in fact I can't imagine this performance ever being seriously bettered. The Sibelius possesses a similar strength of conception and intensity . . .

. . . he's one of the last of the romantics. And that's exactly how Hahn understands him. Her new recording of the Schoenberg Violin Concerto on Deutsche Grammophon, released last month, shows no traces of the spiky, unpleasant angularity that represents Schoenberg in the popular consciousness. And this is quite a feat, since the concerto is one of the more technically difficult pieces to play in the repertory . . . her tone . . . blossoms in the Schoenberg. The density of the score can make the piece sound clotted, but on this recording, it sings. All of that ferocious virtuosity is harnessed here in the service of a larger, expressive purpose. Hahn's sensibility dovetails well with that of Esa-Pekka Salonen, who conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra on this recording. He, too, is someone who focuses expressivity through a quality of analytic intellectualism. Both musicians are smart enough not to get tied in knots by Schoenberg's score, and to see through it to the composer's inner romantic . . . If Schoenberg's emotion is often concealed, Sibelius's is heart-on-the-sleeve. Hahn's matter-of-fact approach helps tone it down and make it an ideal pendant to the Schoenberg on a very fine recording.

When the last chord sounds its full stop, the sense of satisfied finality is exhilarating. Hahn has the full of measure of the piece, its gawky lyricism, ethereal filigree and cripplingly difficult cadenzas (awkward chords galore), all rendered seemingly effortless. Wisps of old-world Vienna echo from the Andante, whereas in a performance of this calibre the finale's complex acrobatics suddenly have musical meaning. Of course having a first-rate orchestra and conductor helps: Esa-Pekka Salonen's direction is in the very best sense of the term "slick", a perfect example of musical badinage, alert, crystal-clear and superbly recorded. Which makes the CD mandatory listening both for lovers of the work who crave an appreciative performance and for doubters who still await conversion. The Sibelius performance is fascinating . . . Hahn weaves a seductive, evenly deployed tone and her technique is impeccable . . . No violinist currently performing makes a lovelier sound . . .

Hilary Hahn . . . seems to have found there unexpected expressive possibilities, both lyrical and dramatic . . . Hahn's rich and vibrant tone helps bring coherence to the piece's disjunct, mercurial fantasy . . . The flighty, kittenish figuration and the abrupt changes of register don't really require broken-glass jaggedness . . . While the Concerto may reveal its full import only slowly, after repeated listenings, Hahn's performance invites those repeated listening. Such a work in such a performance certainly seems fresher than the most recent performance of a standard concerto . . . Hahn brings to the Sibelius Concerto strength of purpose, bolstered by firm and resonant double-stops and singing cantilena that gives structure to the piece's rhapsodic brooding . . . she does shape phrases with a combination of Milstein's eloquence and Rabin's opulence . . . [it] stands out for the ardor of its oratory . . . Salonen and the orchestra cast a bright light on detail in Schoenberg's Concerto and rumble with massive power in Sibelius's, without exploding in noisy crashes . . . Strongly recommended for performance and literature.

What a marvelous violinist! Hahn produces exquisitely lean, clear tones; there is little if any showmanship to her playing; there doesn't need to be, as her virtues are apparent in every note. That she is also a thinking musician is demonstrated by this pair of concertos -- both by her selection of them and by what she makes of them . . . Hahn's Foreword to the booklet is particularly interesting . . . Her Schoenberg turned out to be a hit . . . [Sibelius]: Hahn plays beautifully . . . Hahn's opening Poco allegro is also slow, but she plays so beautifully that it doesn't matter, and her Andante is glorious. The accompaniments are superb . . . This disc is the essential recording of the Schoenberg Concerto, and we get a fine Sibelius thrown in.

If one needs convincing of Hilary Hahn's genius, this remarkable recording of the Schoenberg Violin Concerto should do it. Heifetz gave it up as unplayable. She conquers the work and, in the process, finds a soaring beauty in it. The Sibelius is excellent, too, with an appealing low-key, plaintive quality.

More 20th-century classics delivered with an intelligent ardour by Hahn. Within the serial fireworks she rediscovers Schoenberg the romantic, while the Sibelius has rarely sounded as clear, necessary or Scandinavian.

Bei einem Konzert in Brüssel konnte er sich von der atemberaubenden Virtuosität der Geigerin ebenso überzeugen wie von ihrem tiefen Verständnis für die Musik Schönbergs . . . Für ihre Aufnahme hat sie mit Esa-Pekka Salonen und dem Schwedischen Radio-Symphonie-Orchester ideale Partner gefunden. Unerhört transparent entfaltet sich Schönbergs komplexe Partitur, Hilary Hahn beherrscht ihren Part mit einer Leichtigkeit, die jede manuelle Schwierigkeit vergessen macht. Ihr Ton leuchtet prachtvoll, und ja, da ist sie plötzlich -- Schönbergs romantische Seite.

Hilary Hahns Einspielung . . . könnte nun zu einer Neubewertung des 'Werkes führen. Der Grad der Bewältigung des höllischen Soloparts ist derart exorbitant, dass allein schon dies den Höreindruck radikal ändert. Die Violinstimme entfaltet . . . einen paradox-virtuosen Zauber . . . von atemberaubender Zugkraft. Die aparten Klangmischungen . . . werden genüsslich ausgekostet; die rhythmische Tiefenschärfe, die Esa-Pekka Salonen mit dem fabelhaften Schwedischen Radio-Symphonieorchester herstellt, gibt dem Konzert eine drahtige Gespanntheit und dem diffizilen Zusammenspiel einen Grad an Selbstverständlichkeit, der Staunen macht . . . Der kühl objektivierende Blick [auf das Sibelius Violinkonzert], den Salonen wiederum ungeteilt mitträgt, tut dem oft arg strapazierten Werk hörbar gut, zumal er wie bei Schönberg Expressivität und mitreißende Verve nie ausschließt.

Ein Geigenton, so gläsern schön wie der Gesang der chinesischen Nachtigall . . . Wenn sich eine Geigerin von erst achtundzwanzig Jahren diesem außergewöhnlichen Konzert verschreibt, zeugt das von Mut und Selbstvertrauen. Hilary Hahn hat spieltechnische Probleme nicht zu fürchten . . . Wenn sie bei Auftritten immer wieder erleben konnte, wie es die Zuhörer von den Sitzen riss, dann deshalb, weil sie den Nerv des Stückes getroffen hat . . . Hilary Hahn spielt um Tod und Leben und lässt dabei doch nicht vergessen, dass die Kunst das Leben nur in höchster artifizieller Kontrolle artikuliert. In Esa-Pekka Salonen und dem Radio-Symphonie-Orchester des Schwedischen Rundfunks findet sie ebenbürtige Partner. Endlich einmal wird dem Hörer das wunderbare Stück nicht als schwerfällig knirschende Zwölftonmaschine vorgeführt, sondern als ein lebendiger Organismus: eine hochnervöse, feingliedrige und beredte, stets völlig stringente Charakterfolge. Man höre etwa die halluzinatorische Vogelstimmen-Stelle im Kopfsatz zu Beginn des zweiten Teiles: makellose Zwölfton-Zweiunddreißigstel durchsetzt mit irrealen Flageoletts; gläsern schön wie der Gesang der chinesischen Nachtigall und von allergrößter Zartheit. Hahn legt hier nicht nur ihre souveräne Technik in die Waagschale, sondern auch ihre Texttreue . . .

Ein Konversationsstück in drei Akten spielt sich hier ab zwischen der Hahn und Esa-Pekka Salonen, der mit dem Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra an der Lebendigkeit und musikalischen Durchlichtung des Stücks erheblichen Anteil hat. Es spricht, klagt, singt, marschiert und spannt einen bogen über ein halbes Jahrhundert des schönbergschen Gesamtwerks. Wer hat Angst vor Schönberg? Jetzt hoffentlich niemand mehr.

Ab und an muss Hilary Hahn auch den Kollegen mal wieder ihre einsame Klasse beweisen. Hier kommt die Paarung beiden Werken zugute. Vor allem Schönbergs mit Höchstschwierigkeiten gespickter Kraftakt hat nie überzeugender geklungen.

Durch den Ernst ihrer künstlerischen Auseinandersetzung, durch die Beharrlichkeit ihres Einsatzes und nicht zuletzt durch den Mut zu programmlich eigenen Wegen sticht sie aus ihrer Generation heraus. Dass sie in Esa-Pekka Salonen einen Gleichgestimmten gefunden hat -- der souverän die orchestralen Klippen umschifft -- man höre sich den grellen, ja schreienden Anfang des dritten Satzes an -- unterstreicht den Ausnahmestatus dieser Aufnahme. Vor allem mach Hilary Hahn deutlich, dass die eminenten technischen Anforderungen, dass die hochkomplexe kompositorische Struktur des reifen Schönberg ("entwickelnde Variation") dem musikalischen Ausdruck keineswegs im Wege stehen müssen. Sie kann es sich leisten, die oft rasanten Tempi samt ihren schockartigen Umschwüngen zu wahren und dabei doch dem spezifischen -- fast möchte man sagen: romantisch verbrämten -- Charakter auf die Spur zu kommen. Die virtuosen Extremanforderungen scheinen sie nicht beeinträchtig, sonder im Gegenteil angefeuert zu haben. Als wären sie ein Sprungbrett zu einem wahnwitzigen und zugleich lockeren Musizier-Elan.

Noch nie habe ich es so lyrisch und geradezu romantisch-schwelgerisch gehört, so atmend und ausdrucksstark, so voller Esprit und Witz! . . . In beiden Werken ist Esa-Pekka Salonen ein mehr als ebenbürtiger Partner, und vor allem er Schönberg verdankt der Inspiration und Präzision seiner Arbeit mit dem Schwedischen Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester viel von seiner Klang-Magie.

. . . in ihrer extrem gegensätzlichen Art und Weise sind beide Kompositionen Meisterwerke . . . [Hahn bietet] zusammen mit dem hellwach und präzis agierenden Schwedischen Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester unter der Leitung von Esa-Pekka Salonen eine schlüssige, technisch makellose Wiedergabe des Werks. Ihre geigerische Perfektion, die sie auch bei Sibelius brillant zur Geltung bringt, ermöglicht es ihr, Schönbergs Musik erstaunlich durchsichtig darzubieten und selbst in den komplexesten Passagen ein Höchstmass an Kantabilität zu entfalten.

Von tollen Musikern und brillanter Technik unterstützt, spielt sie das Werk mit unglaublich viel Hingabe und tänzerischem Schwung. Vom Feinsten auch, wie sie Schönbergs höllisch schwierigen Solopart meistert . . . auf höchstem Interpretationsniveau . . .

Sobald Hilary Hahn mit dem Solopart in Arnold Schönbergs Violinkonzert beginnt, steht die Zeit still.

Einmalig: Hilary Hahn entdeckt wahrhaft neu Arnold Schönbergs Violinkonzert.

. . . [Für Hilary Hahn] scheinen technische Schwierigkeiten noch nie ein ernstzunehmendes Hindernis gewesen zu sein . . . unfehlbare Intonationssicherheit und Bogenbeherrschung . . . Auch Schönbergs exorbitant schwierigem Opus 36 zeigt sie sich, anscheinend völlig mühelos, gewachsen . . . Hilary Hahn erweckt dieses komplexe, auch an die Aufnahmefähigkeit des Hörers beträchtliche Anforderungen stellende Stück zum Leben, mit klarem, makellos reinem, leuchtkräftigem Ton, bis in feinste Nuancen sorgfältiger Gestaltung und überwältigender Souveränität. Einen kongenialen Partner findet sie dabei im Schwedischen Radio-Sinfonieorchester unter Esa-Pekka Salonen: Energiegeladen und mit organischem Klang bringt das Orchester die wunderbaren Farbeffekte in Schönbergs Partitur zur Geltung und schafft ein tragfähiges tönendes Geflecht, in das sich die Violinstimme einschmiegt, um dann immer wieder wie ein bunt schillernder Vogel daraus emporzusteigen . . . [Sibelius: Violin Concerto]: Ohne jeden romantischen Kitsch, schnörkellos, mit schlankem und doch warmem Ton geht Hilary Hahn dieses monolithische Stück an . . .

. . . la jeune femme originaire de Lexington, Virginie, a su construire un début de carrière d'une singulière maturité et garder la tête froide face à un engouement médiatique toujours plus intense . . . Son caractère bien trempé, elle y tient, à l'image de ses exigences de clarté, de fidélité au texte musical, comme en témoigne son excellent enregistrement du concerto de Schönberg . . . Hilary Hahn y dévoile une incise sonore jubilatoire, une évidence imperturbable de la ligne, malgré les secousses incessantes du kaléidoscope orchestral . . .

. . . la construction intellectuelle y est constamment en balance avec une expressivité exacerbée, poussant l'exigence technique au paroxysme. Rébarbatif en apparence, il dégage en profondeur une fascination intense. Hilary Hahn en livre une version extrêmement aboutie, l'alliance entre une virtuosité sublimée et une sonorité svelte mais séduisante rend l'écoute lumineuse et évidente, jamais touffue ou désorientée. Ce à quoi contribue la clarté de la direction de Salonen qui trouve d'un bout à l'autre le ton juste.

Hilary Hahn nous donne son premier disque sous étiquette Deutsche Grammophon, des Concertos de Bach comme on n'ose plus en faire, avec un violon qui ne pense qu'à chanter: un pur régal . . . les disques Elgar/Vaughan Williams et Paganini/Spohr manquent d'un rien de flamme, le Schoenberg/Sibelius de ce mois . . . nous permet de retrouver une Hilary Hahn en pleine communion avec les partitions qu'elle interprète . . . Hilary Hahn et Esa-Pekka Salonen utilisent toute la palette des couleurs à leur disposition (l'instrumentation est imposante avec des vents par trois et quatre). La virtuosité si âpre est en partie absente dans cet enregistrement. Elle s'évacue dans la ligne mélodique, dans une narration sans rupture. Les dialogues entre la soliste et les pupitre des bois ou des violoncelles, par exemple, sont d'une clairvoyance et d'un tact que l'on n'imaginait pas . . . Le jeu d'Hilary Hahn est toujours aussi tenu et limpide, sans aucune extravagance, presque masculin dans sa droiture qui se refuse à la moindre digression aux élans dramatiques . . . Hahn et Salonen passionnent de bout en bout.

L'Orchestre de la Radio Suédoise est ici capté avec beaucoup de clarté, de présence et de puissance dynamique . . . le violon idéalement souple, charnu et chaleureux de Hilary Hahn est un enchantement de chaque instant.


    Hilary Hahn plays Schoenberg and Sibelius

    Hilary Hahn seems to revel in unexpected programs for her recordings, and this one is no exception. On the surface, the Violin Concerto of Arnold Schoenberg, finished in the mid-1930s during his exile in America, is not an obvious pairing for Jean Sibelius's Violin Concerto, written at the very start of the 20th century. But the coupling makes perfect sense to Hilary Hahn. As she explains it, she knew that for many listeners this would be their first experience of Schoenberg's probing, virtuosic music. Accordingly, she says, “I wanted to pair the Schoenberg with something that would reflect its dark lyrical side, as well as its playfulness, from an unexpected angle. The Sibelius concerto seemed to me the perfect foil. The Sibelius is often presented as either a highly Romantic work, or as very cold, but I think that it carries within it other aspects that don't always rise to the surface in traditional couplings. I thought that the Schoenberg and the Sibelius, side-by-side, might bring out unexpected nuances in each other."

    Biographically, the two composers were worlds apart but linked by a deep love of the visual arts. “Both composers were active in their countries' artistic communities," says Hilary Hahn. “Schoenberg was a painter and spent time in the company of other artists. Sibelius lived for long periods in an artists' colony in Finland. These were broad-minded, inquisitive men who liked exploring new things, and this sense of adventure shows in the music of both."

    As a teenager, Sibelius planned to become a virtuoso, and when he moved to Vienna in 1890 to study composition, he even auditioned for the Philharmonic, but without success. However, in 1902-03 he poured his love of the violin into what was to be the only concerto he ever wrote: a haunting, at times thrillingly virtuosic work. Now one of the best-loved and most frequently performed concertos in the repertoire, the Sibelius's appeal lies not just in its daring juxtaposition of rhapsodic lyrical passages with volcanic outbursts and with moments of ethereal transparency, but also in its unconventional structure. “The Sibelius has become standard repertoire, but its interpretive possibilities have not been exhausted. It's a surprisingly forward-thinking piece," says Hilary Hahn.

    “The Schoenberg, on the other hand, seems to reach more deeply into the past. Of course it's innovative in ways that we don't expect from a violin concerto: Schoenberg's compositional techniques were groundbreaking, and musically, as a listener, you never know what's waiting around the next bend. But heard these days, this is not the spiky, inaccessible concerto it was once rumored to be. At heart it's exciting, highly imaginative, very romantic, emotionally poignant music, perfectly served by Schoenberg's novel approach to musical technique." Premiered by American violinist Louis Krasner in 1940, and held back in part because of an early reputation for being “unplayable" (Heifetz's assessment of the new score), Schoenberg's concerto has taken longer than some to attain the success of other legendary works. But it is a deeply rewarding piece in which Schoenberg employs his famous 12-tone technique artfully, without sacrificing the music's expressive content.

    Hilary Hahn thinks those who expect to be intimidated by Schoenberg will be pleasantly surprised by this recording. “Little bits of his personality come through if you give them a chance. You hear hints of his history: earlier in life he'd composed for cabaret and briefly you can hear that. You can hear, too, that he had a very lyrical, romantic streak. This is a piece that really shouldn't be played academically, just as you wouldn't play the Brahms concerto like an academic study. No composer writes music that doesn't reflect some intense feeling."

    “But, logistically speaking," she says, “it can be a hard piece to present. Many orchestras, even today, are playing it for the first time, so it's important to have ample rehearsal time to master its techniques and also to delve as deeply as possible into the interpretation. I love introducing an orchestra to the Schoenberg. Everyone I've played it with has become excited about making it work in concert, and audiences have really enjoyed it. Going into the recording sessions, therefore, I had a good feeling about the project and about working with Esa-Pekka Salonen. He was ideal, because he really comprehends the inner workings of music. He brings out colors and textures, he guides the orchestra's interpretation, and he's a top-notch collaborative artist. I knew all that would help the Schoenberg, and I think it adds a special dimension to the Sibelius as well."

    Far from being daunted by Schoenberg's concerto, Hilary Hahn is excited by the physical challenge that he sets his soloist. Someone once told Schoenberg that his work would remain unplayed until violinists developed a sixth finger, but Hahn disagrees. “You do have to find the right fingering for each particular note and chord. And you have to have the right kind of hand to do it. But if you put in the time, five fingers are plenty!" She says the orchestra parts are also challenging, “but what's most tricky about the piece is getting past the idea that it's cast in a foreign musical language. If the musicians onstage can just work with it from the start like they would any Romantic concerto, it rapidly takes on a life of its own."

    How would she describe the Schoenberg to someone who hadn't heard it? “I hear elements of Shostakovich and Stravinsky, although not everyone agrees with me on that! I also hear Bach, of course - Schoenberg was very influenced by Bach's structural genius. I hear the German Romantic musical tradition. I like the way he changes from one mood to the next, from one section to the next. Sometimes it's absolutely schizophrenic. One moment will be very serene and removed and abstract. And the next moment there'll be a twisted, demented waltz, and then you hear a little bit of cabaret, a melody you could whistle.... and then you'll get to something that's equally wonderful but entirely unlike anything you've heard before. Like every great piece, it's a work that's defined by the sum of its parts. Individual sections are interesting, but they sound even better when you drop them into the piece as a whole."

    Such interaction between parts is, of course, the beauty of this recording - it's a chance to familiarize and refamiliarize yourself with two very different masterpieces playing off of each other. As Hilary Hahn says, “By itself, the Sibelius Violin Concerto is one of those pieces that you can't forget: you finish listening and its impact stays with you. The Schoenberg is the same. And hearing the Sibelius alongside the Schoenberg, and having the possibility to start all over again with either one you choose - well, that's one of the great experiences of musical life."

    Amanda Holloway
    1/2008