Hilary Hahn Explores Sibelius in New Recording
Violinist HILARY HAHN has made a bold coupling in her new album, Schoenberg Violin Concerto, Op. 36/Sibelius Violin Concerto, Op. 47, recorded with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
The concertos—Sibelius' written near the turn of the 20th century and Schoenberg's 1936 work penned during his refuge in California—might seem an unlikely match, but Hahn attests to the brilliance they reveal in each other. "As I started working on them much more and reaching final musical decisions on them before the recording, I realized there was a lot more that tied them together," she says. "That had been on my mind the whole time, but I didn't know how to define it.
"There are presuppositions about how these are listened to and how they should be played. The Schoenberg is on the dry, academic side of things—thinking about the fact that it's tone rows instead of thinking about the fact that a tone row can be a melody. What I found in the Schoenberg was what I thought was there all along: this lyrical, hyper-Romantic element—not hyper-Romantic in a chaotic sense. It's just a very expressive piece. There is a lot of emotion in it that you have to bring out.
"I find that a lot of the Sibelius is defined by the typical ideal of the Finnish landscape. That's well and good, and there are aspects that reflect elements of the landscape, but I doubt that any composer writes for a landscape. If they did that, they would be painters. The way I hear the Sibelius is actually a reflection of the man, and the man's inner workings, more than the man's culture or his surroundings."