Violinist Hilary Hahn released her first solo Bach album more than twenty years ago as a teenager. Now, she has returned to this music with a newly-released recording featuring Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Partita No. 1 in B minor, and Sonata No. 2 in A minor. Completed nearly 300 years ago, this sublime collection of Baroque dances stands at the center of the violin repertoire.
Hahn’s conception of this music moves away from period performance practice to the full-bodied Romanticism of earlier generations of violinists. She discusses this in a recent violinist.com interview:
I was taught Bach, and taught to listen to Bach, by a very specific generation,” she said. Her teachers Klara Berkovich and Jascha Brodsky “were coming from the tradition of Kreisler, Heifetz, Milstein, Szeryng, Grumiaux, Oistrakh. It’s a very specific way of playing Bach that is not a ‘Baroque’ style of playing Bach at all,” Hilary said. “That is what is in my ear, it is natural to me physically, and it is how I can express myself most completely in the music. So I don’t feel the need to change the essence of it, but there are a lot of different avenues for exploration within even that particular style.
Here is the Fugue from Sonata No. 1- music in which three distinct voices spring to life within the space of a single solo violin: