Album: Schoenberg/Sibelius, Violin Concertos – Hahn/Salonen/Swedish RSO (Deutsche Grammophon)

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"Heifetz cannot play it. Nobody can play it." Schoenberg's despair at Jascha Heifetz's response to his 1936 Violin Concerto sealed the work's reputation as abstruse and perverse, obscuring its threnodic beauty. A matchless technician and perceptive interpreter, Hilary Hahn focuses on that beauty, lending the work a quality of lonely innocence. Artfully accompanied by Esa-Pekka Salonen, it is a strikingly pure, intimate performance. Also overshadowed by oppression, the Sibelius makes for a dark, resinous pairing. The orchestral performance is again superbly crafted, Hahn's reading unimpeachably clear-eyed.

Download this: Hahn's unsentimental reading of Sibelius's Allegro moderato