The Week in Reviews, Op. 108: Hilary Hahn, Isabelle Faust, Jennifer Koh

November 25, 2015, 2:44 PM · In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Hilary Hahn performed the Dvorak with the Baltimore Symphony.

Hilary Hahn
Hilary Hahn. Photo © Michael Patrick O'Leary.

Isabelle Faust performed the Berg with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Jennifer Koh performed the Nielsen with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Renaud Capuçon performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Cincinnati Symphony.

Jonathan Carney performed and conducted the Brahms with the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra.

Elena Urioste performed the Sibelius with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

Leonidas Kavakos performed the Sibelius with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Karen Gomyo performed Philip Glass' Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Dallas Symphony.

Please support music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!


November 25, 2015 at 11:09 PM · still not sure about the relevance of discussing Ms Ko's gunmetal dress, especially at that point in the sentence where it was stashed.

Maybe im just in a bad mood.

Hahn is I believe, going to be one of the legendary violinsts we talk about for centuries to come. If nothing else we can talk about her dress sense as well I suppose....

November 26, 2015 at 01:17 AM · I guess appearance is part of any live performance, but it can be a little awkward in a review!

November 26, 2015 at 01:28 AM · HH is truly a fabulous violinist. I do wonder if her violin is at risk of being scratched by her penchant for dangly bangly earrings.

November 26, 2015 at 08:04 AM · Hilary Hahn is astounding. I mean who debuts with a recording of the Bach solo S&P's at age 18 to critical acclaim?! I prefer all her concerto recordings above anyone else's.

November 26, 2015 at 11:50 AM · There's a recording of Ms Hahn playing the Dvorak on Youtube. If she played it as well as that then the audience had a real treat - even with a few incidental slips(!).

I love critic-speak. Can anyone explain what is a 'prismatic touch'? And a gem from a previous blog - 'evocative changeability'. Maybe these are Americanisms which poor Brits like me don't understand. Perhaps if I'd been able to introduce these into my playing I would have progressed further?

I too love her playing. I have more of her CD's than any other contemporary violinist.

November 26, 2015 at 09:38 PM · Dear Peter,

a 'prismatic touch' is where someone gropes ypu on the tube and automatically gets sent down. Hence, 'prismatic.'Quite right too. Bloody dodgy if you ask me.



November 26, 2015 at 09:43 PM · I was at HH's performance of the Dvorak with the BSO at the Meyerhoff in Baltimore. (She performed at the Strathmore on Thursday, which was the WaPo review, and then at the Meyerhoff on Friday and Saturday, and the Sun review doesn't make clear which of the latter two performances was reviewed).

She was as good as ever -- an absolutely impeccably controlled, masterful performance of the Dvorak, and a riveting encore. (She's one violinist that I try never to miss when she comes to town.)

I was in the fourth row, somewhat left of center, and thought that she could have had a little more punch (I don't know how well her sound carried to the back of the hall), but she was audible at all times.

November 27, 2015 at 02:47 AM · I think the fourth row is too close, although a great opportunity to watch details. I had first-row seats right in the center for cellist David Finkiel and it was like looking directly up the fingerboard and into his nose because his end pin brings the lower bout of his cello up higher (not as high as Rostropovich). We were able to move a little at intermission and the sound improved because the ensemble with the piano came into better focus.

I also do not care for the pretentious neologisms of the critics. But, after writing the same droll things for years at a time, I guess one needs to spice things up once in a while. What is one going to say about HH? That her tone was good? That she played in tune? Sheesh.

And yes it's impressive that HH made a recording of Bach as a teenager, but let's not forget ASM recorded two Mozart concertos with Karajan at 15. You could argue that the whole of the Bach S&P was a stiffer challenge, and I would have to agree with that, but both were brilliant accomplishments by two frightfully good violinists.

November 28, 2015 at 10:51 PM · Maybe the Globe is catching-on to Isabelle -- beautifully nuanced playing, in a post-modern sort of way . . .

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Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine