J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Violin Concertos

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Hilary Hahn
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Kahane
Soloists:Margaret Batjer, violin on BWV 1043
Allan Vogel, oboe on BWV 1060
Individual Works:Concerto for Violin, Strings and Basso Continuo in E major, BWV 1042
Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Basso Continuo in D minor, BWV 1043
Concerto for Violin, Strings and Basso Continuo in A minor, BWV 1041
Concerto for Oboe, Violin, Strings and Basso Continuo in C minor, BWV 1060
Record Label:Deutsche Grammophon
Year Released/Recorded:2003
Total Playing Time:57'42
Related Web Site:http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/special/?ID=hahn-bach-violinconcertos
Comments:Jan Hanford said:

I am very impressed with Hilary Hahn. She is extraordinarily talented, polished, well-spoken and a beautiful young woman. Do I recommend this cd? Not really.

I did not enjoy the very fast tempos of the concertos' outer movements. Extreme speed has been a performance style for more than a decade now and what started out as trendy has now become the standard. Why so fast? Are we to be astonished by the orchestra's amazing technique? I am but... The conductor's daring interpretation? Do you mean other than fast?... The soloist's heroic ability to keep up with it all? I'm very impressed but...

It's all starting to sound the same. Phrases and melodies fly past, speeding into a blur. It almost sounds computer generated. The soloist doesn't have a chance to stand out as an individual; to express their feelings and personal musical intelligence. Once upon a time we could identify a recording's performers within seconds : "Oh that's.... recorded in...". Now the response is: "Oh, I don't know who that is but it's faster than last year's generic release of the same works."

Some people have told me that they love the new style of super-fast orchestras, etc. I'm happy for them.

Pau Rey said:

After buying my new SACD (Super Audio CD) player, this was the first SACD disc I bought. When I first heard it I became speechless. The recording quality of this CD/SACD is absolutely astonishing, beyond of all my highest expectations. I felt like I actually was inside the concert room. I strongly recommend this recording to all the Hi-Fi lovers, and specially the ones who own a SACD player.

Regarding the interpreter, Miss Hahn might play some movements faster than usual, but her technique is just spectacular, and for those who already know these works, the faster movements will not disappoint you at all. She plays the instrument with the freshness and spirit of a young interpreter. She brings you a very pleasant and lively feeling when you listen to this recording.

I am sorry to disagree with Jan Hanford, but I believe this recording is essential for any Bach lover.

Kendrick Lee said:

I have to agree about the too-rapid pace, especially in the Double Concerto. The plan may have been to accentuate the beauty of the middle movement (which seems played at a more standard tempo). Unnecessary. The middle movement has been a thing of beauty since it was penned, and needs no help from adjusted tempos.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Pau Rey
  • Kendrick Lee
From the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:10/07/2003