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Plays Bach Partitas/Sons

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 4 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029UH
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #257,896 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Partita No. 3 In E Major: I Preludio
2. Partita No. 3 In E Major: II Loure
3. Partita No. 3 In E Major: III Gavotte en Rondeau
4. Partita No. 3 In E Major: IV Menuet I
5. Partita No. 3 In E Major: V Menuet II
6. Partita No. 3 In E Major: VI Bourrée
7. Partita No. 3 In E Major: VII Gigue
8. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: I Allemande
9. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: II Courante
10. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: III Sarabande
11. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: IV Gigue
12. Partita No. 2 In D Minor: V Ciaccona
13. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: I Adagio
14. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: II Fuga
15. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: III Largo
16. Sonata No. 3 In C Major: IV Allegro assai

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Format: Audio CD
This was in fact my first recording of Bach for solo violin as well as my first recording of Hilary Hahn. The recording is in a word, breathtaking. Her intonation is perfect as well as a timing that is amazing. The recorded sound is flawless. There is no "interprating" here as so many other players might have and in fact have done. It is Bach as it is written or as much as I think it might be. Most importantly, there is a sensitivity here in this playing that speaks volumes of the this musicians love of the music she is playing, that outweighs any comparison to other recordings or violinists. There is a joy in this recording that is conveyed to the listener. It would seem to be her trademark. Hilary Hahn loves this music and as a result I love this recording and so might you. More than 6 years later it is still as fresh to my ears as it was when I first heard it. Even if you don't like Bach or baroque or solo violin I still recommend this recording as well as any other Hilary Hahn recording.
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Format: Audio CD
I do not know what Bach expected or envisioned in a performance of these pieces. But it is awfully hard to imagine him not appreciating this recording. Yes, I do grant what several people have said about Milstein's Chaconne (in particular) being deeper in emotion, etc., but the pure, plain beauty of the sound produced by Hahn and recorded so cleanly by more modern technology (and evidently in a remarkably resonant space) has it own inherent value. It makes me focus on the genius of Bach's very notes themselves, especially in the opening E major Partita. And if you listen carefully, I don't see how anyone could characterize this performance as lacking in creativity - the dynamic range is fantastic, and along with the pacing seems to me to represent a real thoughtfulness about each phrase. I also find that the relatively relaxed tempi add to this effect of simplicity, purity, and beauty, and allow the composer, rather than the virtuosity of the performer, to take center stage. A great recording, in a different, not inferior, sense, when compared to the Old Classics.
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Format: Audio CD
Hilary Hahn's redition of the Bach sonatas and partitas is exquisite. At the time of this recording, Ms. Han was only seventeen, and it is miraculous how much thought, maturity, intelligence, and art she brings to these works. Her playing of the chaconne in the d-minor partita, taken at an unusually slow tempo, is heartbreaking. Her playing of the fugue movement of the third sonata is brilliant. I cannot praise this CD highly enough. My only complaint is that Ms. Hahn has left us with only half a loaf -- when is she finally going to record the other two sonatas and the first partita?
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Format: Audio CD
Right, Ms. Hahn is NOT Bach, nor is she Mr. Milstein, Mr. Szering, or Mr. Gould for that matter. This Bach performance is a simple exercise in self indulgence: empty and musically pointless. And it really matters not whether it is 'true' to baroque performance practices or not. Naturally, it is not!! And, yes, Bach did NOT have a CD collection, thank God for that!! The important thing is that Ms. Hahn's performances lack real music in them, just satisfactory violin playing is apparent. But is this enough? or can that be even compared to such giants as Milstein, Szering , Gould, Maisky?? Open your ears people and listen really well. A (questionably) pretty face on the cover does not guarantee a great performance of great music. There is no resemblance in Ms. Hahn's performances with any of the abovementioned great artists. Get serious about music!! Enjoy the real thing. Listen to masters, understand what they do and your Ms. Hahn's Bach CD will collect dust on your shelf for the eternity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa61f242c) out of 5 stars 71 reviews
68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6421e70) out of 5 stars Compare to Milstein Sept. 11 1999
By shantinik - Published on
Format: Audio CD
First off, to compare this recording (made when Hahn was 16) to Milstein's Sonatas and Partitas (made in the prime of his career, and considered one of the 3 or 4 greatest violin recordings of all time), shows how much I think of this one.
Now to be fair, Hahn's performance of the Second Partita is not Milstein's. Milstein's Giga is much fiendishly faster (played without the repeats, as was common in the early 1960s -- Glenn Gould in his piano recordings of Bach always left them out too), and a true baroque gigue. And Milstein's Chaconne! -- well, it is always on the edge -- technically, and in the depths of human emotion, suffering, and transcendance it engenders in the listener. And this is despite the fact that he plays it faster. It is almost impossible to come away from the Milstein recording of the Chaconne without feeling both emotionally exhausted and exhilarated. This remains the definitive performance.
Having said that, the Hahn performance will always have a place in my heart. The sound is rich and full, not ascerbic and vibrato-free like Milstein, the phrasing is delightful (no one could ever claim she hasn't thought through, note by note, what she wants to do); the rubato is judicious. The mellower Chaconne makes it in some ways more enjoyable (you'll never want to sit through listening to the Milstein twice on the same day! but you can repeat the Hahn again and again), though the highlights in this recording are the Sonatas, not the Partita.
I have bought and given copies of this recording to budding young musicians as inspiration. (I'd only dare give the Milstein to those who are emotionally prepared - it should be "R" rated.) Hahn will be around a long time -- she'll get to do it again (Milstein's famous one he did when he was 54, I think, and recorded them again (less well) in his late 70s.)
Buy it. Put it away. Be prepared to take it out again to compare it to what she does when she's 40.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6421ec4) out of 5 stars Youthful Bach March 1 2000
By V. Wilson - Published on
Format: Audio CD
There seems to be an excess of hyperbole among the Amazon reviewers about this recording--they either love it to death or hate it and wonder why a teenager is playing Bach. Personally, this recording has attributes that merit both descriptions without quite meriting the passionate excess.
To review this, I directly compared Hahn's D-minor Partita with Milstein's. Lo and behold, the differences are what one might expect between an older artist and a youthful one who happens to live in an era where technical competancy is much higher.
Milstein wins out in the slow movements where his sense of phrasing and line draw one into the emotions involved. Hahn occassionally falls into the "slower is more profound" mode which causes her to lose the overall line. This is especially apparent in the opening prelude. However, Hahn plays with such a ravishing tone that one can frequently enjoy the moment.
In the faster pieces, Hahn is the clear winner. She remembers the dance aspect of these pieces and plays them with rhythmic punch. Milstein here falls into the "everything Bach produced is profound" mode which makes these too heavy.
In the concluding Chaconne, Milstein rises to greater heights. However, some of Hahn's soft playing is so incredibly beautiful. In addition, although her Chaconne takes longer than Milstein's, it doesn't fall apart--perhaps because the musical form is readily apparent and easy to follow.
All in all, this is a pretty spectacular debut by Ms. Hahn. She gambles by opening her recording career with Bach and, although she doesn't "get" everything in the music, she produces a winning result. Here is a young violinist whose career is worth following. And hopefully, she will remain brave and record things that interest her, rather than just the old warhorses. (Her decision to couple Berstein's Serenade with the Beethoven Concerto is an optimistc sign!)
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6424318) out of 5 stars Bach at its best! Dec 9 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Hilary Hahn's performance epitomizes Bach at his very best. I am apalled that anyone would think it as boring and dull! If you want a purely baroque sound with no vibrato and no rubato, then this recording is not for you. But the sound that Hilary Hahn can get from her violin is absolutely divine, and the energy in her recording is better than in any I've ever heard. Her phrasing is great, and her voicing is fabulous, especially in the C major fugue. Among the best aspects of the recording, however, is showing different voicings in a single line, which she does with amazing precision. If you love Bach, the real Bach, then this recording is for you!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64246c0) out of 5 stars Absolutely FANTASTIC! - And Refreshing Feb. 1 2006
By James B. Ross - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This woman can play a violin!

I've seen mixed reviews on her. She definitely has her own style and if someone is going to try to compare her playing with Milstein, Szeryng or any of the other greats from the "old school" they will probably be disappointed. Hilary doesn't sound like them, nor is she trying to sound like them. On the contrary she is playing from her heart. She plays the music as she feels it and she does it wonderfully. It's not lacking in anything. Her virtuosity is superb and there is definitely a spiritual depth to her playing. She's very much "into" the music.

I'm very glad to hear someone who can play from the heart instead of trying to reproduce "old-school" expectations. This is what I'm looking for in music. If I ever get to the point where I can play these pieces myself I'm going to play them from the heart too and I'm definitely not going to try to reproduce how other people have interpreted them or believe that they should be played. To me, music is an art of expression, and the individual performer is supposed to play the music how they feel it. This is what music is all about. This is what Hilary Hahn has done with the Bach partitas and sonatas and she's done a magnificent job. She is an exceptional violinist and musician without a doubt.

I find her playing to be very touching and inspirational with great depth. I'm very glad that I bought her performance on CD.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64247bc) out of 5 stars Hilary Hahn�s unaccompanied Bach is the best June 24 1999
By Robert Epstein - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I have been a great fan of Bach's unaccompanied repertoire for 25 years, since the time when a gifted professor introduced them to my class and described how some of them were transcribed from organ pieces. Bach combined some of the contrapuntal voices into single violin lines, and created resonances that implied the other missing voices. This creates the impression, when these pieces are well played, that there are perhaps two, three or sometimes four instruments playing instead of a single violin. Recently I found a complete recording of Itzhak Perlman's version of these pieces, and I admired as always, his sweet and perfect playing. But when I came across Hilary Hahn's recording by accident, my mouth fell open. Her approach to these pieces is subtly nuanced, full of space and creative implication. It makes Perlman, despite his own brilliance, sound like an elephant by comparison. Ms. Hahn's is a brilliant, beautiful performance. I can't imagine anyone doing more with these pieces, or with such ease. She is purely creative and unique.