Hilary Hahn Bach Sonatas 1 & 2 Partita 1Hilary Hahn Plays Bach

Sonatas 1 & 2, Partita 1

Decca, 2018

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As it happens with every recording of a great artist, also Hilary Hahn Plays Bach is not only a musical experience, but also an invitation to reflection.

Hilary Hahn’s journey through Bach’s music began with her very first album. She recorded it when she was only sixteen and featured three (out of six) Sonatas and Partitas. The present recording, which includes the remaining three, is therefore a continuation and conclusion of the previous project.

It is one of those times that it is worth waiting. This is the repertoire Hahn played the most – and the result is the perfect understanding of Bach’s music. The Sonatas 1 & 2 and the Partita 1 are so perfectly smooth and so emotionally inspired to be breathtaking. Overall, they conjure up the image of a circle, where transparency and coherence follow one another incessantly.

Hahn plays the three works with equal stamina and ingenuity. Bach’s straightforwardness and precision fit Hahn’s playing like a glove. She seems engaged in accentuating the profound coherence of Bach’s music, a result she achieves with clarity and exactitude. The voice of her instrument is always clear, polished and graceful and does not focus only on revealing the preciousness of this music, but also in the development of a message.

In Hahn’s playing, Bach’s Sonatas and Partita are works of unabashed beauty and deep inspiration: listen to the highly virtuosic Presto from the Sonata No. 1 and to Hahn’s peerless self-assurance; to the concentrated, relaxed Sarabande or to the virtuosic harmony of the Double from the Partita; to the colourful though peaceful Andante from the Sonata No. 2. Thanks to her magisterial technique and inexhaustible resourcefulness, Hahn is always able to colour the pivotal passages with suggestive nuances, which reveals her intelligence and insight and, at the same time, provides the works with the right amount of originality and unexpectedness.

Hahn has a lustrous tone throughout the album and is constantly communicative. Her performance is never aloof, but it has a kind of confidence which is disarming for its sincerity. Hahn’s honesty is, more than any other gift she has as a performer, a rare quality. Thanks to her complete, confident abandon to music, she gives the works an entirely new, riveting force which spreads a message of peaceful – but undying – optimism.

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