Hilary Hahn – Retrospective


Pretend that you have the power to gather every single classical music junkie in the world, pack them into a single room, and make them vote on whatever you want. Sure, it’s a bizarre fucking superpower. It’s totally fucking useless on the grand scheme of things. But it’s better than having a super power to make yourself dizzy or to fart silently anytime you want, though not by much. Once you gather all the classical junkies into a room, you make them vote on the ten best living violinists. I guaran-fucking-tee you Hilary Hahn will be on every list. 

Hilary Hahn isn’t just good at violin, she may be the best there has ever been. She’s good at violin like Issac Newton was good at calculus, the sun is at being hot, and E.T. was at riding a bike. Composers like Edgar Meyer, Jennifer Higdon, and Antón Garcia Abril have written pieces specifically for her. When she finishes playing, Superman looks at her with his mouth agape and with his steely jaw dropped to the floor and says, “But … that’s impossible.” Let me try to break this down for you. One of the most difficult pieces for violin ever concocted is “Heinrich Wilhlm Ernst’s Grand Caprice on Schubert’s Der Erlkönig, Op 26 Le roi des aulnes”. Reading over the sheet music doesn’t even make sense. Sure, I understand what it’s trying to say, but what it’s saying is impossible. It would be similar to reading over a recipe one day and it saying, “Step One: Pull a live turkey from your ass while juggling three Danish elves swallowing tiny moons.” Sure, you understand the words but, not only can it not be done, it would be ludicrous to think it could be. At certain points the violin is supposed to play three separate lines at once. But, when Hahn plays this shit, it’s flawless. She makes it look as easy as throwing apples into a bucket. It’s fucking perfect. It’s kinda too perfect. Shit, that’s kinda fucking creepy. 

This album is a mix bag of what Hahn has done over the years. If you don’t know her, this is a fantastic introduction album. The album artwork is done by fans. Hahn doesn’t stick to classical canon. She plays contemporary and modern shit, which is no surprise if you know of her. She plays shit that crosses over genre lines. She plays a song by the ever-popular Max Richter and a song from the album she co-created with Hauschka. This album is a fantastic display of her versatility, talent, and hard work. There’s no reason not to listen to this shit. 



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