on November 1, 2003
The first thing you ask me is do I like this CD. Yes, it's very pretty. How about the recording? Actually, I don't like the sound engineering. How about the performer Hilary Hahn? She's fantastic!
I've been listening to Hilary for less than six months, since discovering her by chance. After about 30 seconds I came to the conclusion that this girl is as great a violinist as I've ever heard. Her intonation is perfect, her tone gorgeous, like velvet, better than Heifitz. I've heard them all. Hilary is from the Bel Canto school of violin playing.
Unfortunately, I can't give similar praise to the sound engineering. Several of your reviewers have complained about Miking, too close, too far. Well, I guess it comes down to whether or not you want to hear Hilary or the Orchestra. I bought this recording to hear Hilary and what I got was a solo recording of the orchestra with Hilary struggling to be heard in the background. I agree that the orchestral part of Beethoven's only violin concerto is beautiful but I've been listening to it for 61 years (I'm 72) and I think I've got it down. Conversely, I was trained in the violin and I want to hear the violinist and if you drown out the violinist with the orchestra how can I hear what Hilary is doing? Let me put it another way. Is this a violin concerto or an orchestra concerto?
By the way, the same comments can be made of Sony Classic's CD of Hilary Hahn playing Mendelssohn's violin concerto. Also, why do you mix Beethoven and Bernstein or Mendelssohn and Shostakovich. Too each his own but the styles of these composers are very different. More power to those who like both but why don't you put Bernstein and Shostakovich on the same CD together and Beethoven and Mendelssohn on another. That would double my pleasure and save me some money.
So the CD is worth every penny you pay for it just to hear Hilary Hahn in the background.