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Hilary Hahn, Natalie Zhu: MOZART Violin Sonatas CD


Hilary Hahn is a splendid violinist, with an easy, flawless technique and a tone of pristine purity. She has already gained a reputation as a singularly serious performer; even her photographs show her in strikingly thoughtful poses. Indeed, her approach to the four Mozart sonatas on this recording seems to be almost too thoughtful: everything is so carefully planned that there is no room for imagination or spontaneity. Her tone is invariably beautiful but never varies in color or intensity; shifts of mood and character are heralded with tempo changes, ritards, breaks, and long pauses, even when Mozart clearly indicates a connection, as in the Finale of the Sonata K. 526. The ensemble with her long-time friend and partner Natalie Zhu is excellent, but they seem to have agreed to disagree on certain points, such as the execution of trills and ornaments, and the articulation of short notes: Hahn's playing is rounder and more lyrical, Zhu's brisker and more pointed. Both follow the current trend of superimposing dynamics and contrasts on the written score as if they did not trust the music to speak for itself, but this only results in fussiness and a loss of continuity and simplicity. However, the balance is so good that the interchange between more and less prominent voices comes out perfectly. --Edith Eisler.



Sonata in F major K. 376 (374d)
F-dur · en fa majeur
1. Allegro
2. Andante
3. Rondeau. Allegretto grazioso
Sonata in G major K. 301 (293a)
G-dur · en sol majeur
1. Allegro con spirito
2. Allegro
Sonata in E minor K. 304 (300c)
e-moll · en mi mineur
1. Allegro
2. Tempo di Menuetto
Sonata in A major K. 526
A-dur · en la majeur
1. Molto Allegro
2. Andante
3. Presto