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Artist: Hilary Hahn / Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Hilary Hahn delights in putting together works that normally don't go together. Her previous pairings of works by Beethoven and Bernstein, Barber and Meyer, and Brahms and Stravinsky went against what most listeners and critics think of as apt disc mates. And in every one so far, Hahn has succeeded: each performance is superb in its own right and each sounds even better in context of the work with which it shares disc space. But not this time. In her new recording of Mendelssohn's E minor and Shostakovich's A minor concertos, Hahn has coupled an astoundingly brilliant performance of the former with a slight and shallow performance of the latter. Hahn's Mendelssohn is one of the best in decades, a performance that stands with Mutter's and Shaham's and rivals the great Milstein, Heifetz, and Kreisler for virtuosity and vivacity. But her Shostakovich is as dreadful as her Mendelssohn is delightful. Hahn plays the work with stunning technique and as-stunning incomprehension. Any of the emotional or musical depth is missing, leaving a hole where the work's heart used to be. And in context of Hahn's bright and shinning Mendelssohn, Shostakovich's concerto sounds even more shallow and meaningless. While this disc is certainly worth getting for the tremendous Mendelssohn, the Shostakovich is ultimately not worth listening to.
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
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