Happy Birthday to Hilary Hahn: 2014

Today is Hilary Hahn’s b’day! Please join us in celebrating it by watching her performance from earlier this year of  the 4th Violin Concerto in D minor op. 31 by Henri Vieuxtemps with conductor Tugan Sokhiev and the Berlin Philharmonic.

BTW, it’s also Thanksgiving Day, so, Happy Thanksgiving to you all from The Glass!

The Glass Sho ~ Ecouter Ensemble/David Donnelly on His Documentary ‘Maestro’)

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The latest installment of The Glass Sho features an interview with the flute/cello (and sometimes piano as well) trio Ecouter (Natalie Spehar, cello; Nikola Ragusa, flute; Amelie Brodeur, flute and piano). They discuss their all-new music and visual arts project titled Project “Three”, which will be released as a recording and toured in several locations, launching at Spectrum in NYC on 11/21, and features pieces commissioned from composers such as Rebecca Brandt, Cristina Spinei, Luci Holland, Clio Montrey, and several others.

A few minutes of the forthcoming recording (Luci Holland’s “Ash”) are previewed in this episode.
More details on the premiere and the tour here:
Introducing Project “Three” for 2014-2015

Also interviewed is film director David Donnelly, who discusses his documentary Maestro. The film stars conductor Paavo Jarvi and follows his day-to-day activities with the Cincinnati Symphony. Also featured in the film are appearances by Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang and Joshua Bell among others.

The film’s post-production has yet to be completed. David has a Kickstarter campaign set up to fund the costs of both the film’s stereophonic soundtrack as well as squaring royalties for some of the music selections.
Please contribute here:
Kickstarter for Maestro by David Donnelly

The Glass Sho: Episode 22 (Ecouter Ensemble/David Donnelly on His Documentary ‘Maestro’)

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Donal Fox ~ On Jamming with Hilary Hahn at Skaneateles

Donal FOX(Lou Jones)

Pianist-composer-improviser Donal Fox is performing this year at the 34th annual Skaneateles Festival.
Known for some incredible work in both jazz and new music, Donal has also been very active as a collaborator and experimentalist in merging styles. Besides his solo appearance at the upcoming festival on Thursday, August 15th at 8 PM, he’ll be playing with none other than a longtime favorite of The Glass and a veteran of this festival, Hilary Hahn, on Saturday the 17th at 7:30 PM at a special evening devoted to a collaboration never before seen by the public, and something that promises to be a real treat for both fans of jazz and classical. Hilary will also be appearing on Friday the 16th playing a solo recital at 8 PM.

Donal had a few minutes to talk about the show. Continue reading

Sir Colin Davis (1927 ~ 2013): The Lark Ascending with Hilary Hahn

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I have to say that I feel very badly now about the time I purchased Hilary Hahn’s Elgar/Vaughan Williams CD and I had the audacity to complain about Sir Colin Davis humming on the recording. If you listen closely, he hummed when he conducted, kind of like Glenn Gould did but perhaps not as intensely. I actually wanted my money back from DG at the time (I remember being on the phone with them about it, not kidding). I guess he just loved the music so much he couldn’t help himself. Perhaps he’s humming along with the angels right now as we speak.

As for the recording and the performances, they practically speak for themselves. Hilary Hahn plays such a gorgeous part in this that I believe she’s in effect “ruined it” for me in that I can’t hear anyone else portray an ascending lark in such a visceral way after hers. Sir Colin must have been simply carried away making this recording. I hope that he remembered this session as he passed through on Sunday. R.I.P. Maestro.

Ralph Vaughan-Williams (1872-1958)
The Lark Ascending for violin and orchestra (1914)
Hilary Hahn ~ violin
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis (1927-2013) ~ conductor

Cory Smythe ~ On the Recent Tour with Hilary Hahn and Related Things

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ICE‘s Cory Smythe, the lucky (He earned it because he is really THAT good; let’s just say fortunate) gentleman that just finished touring as a pianist with Hilary Hahn in Europe and the US (and a gig in Turkey as well), is here to discuss that experience with The Glass!

Cory is gearing up to preview a new work of his this Saturday at NY’s Dimenna Center, and he is planning to release a follow-up recording to 2011’s pluripotent this coming fall, which oddly enough, is when we can expect to finally see the release of Hilary Hahn’s In 27 Pieces encores CD, which Cory also happens to be featured on. Look out for these and more performances with ICE this season. But for now, we needed to ask him about working with HH. 🙂 Continue reading

New review of Silfra from Headphone Commute!

Headphone Commute

Hilary Hahn & Hauschka ‎- Silfra

Has it really been six months since I’ve seen Hilary Hahn & Hauschka perform live? I can’t slow the time, but I can keep the memories. It seems that just yesterday I sat in the front row, looking up at Hilary playing her violin, while Volker Bertelmann smiled from the corner behind the piano. She would get lost in her music. Her eyes closed she would bend knees and shuffle booted feet in time with the beat, moving with music in a magical dance. Occasionally she would glance at Volker, who seemed lost in percussive piano elements himself. And the two would connect, in that mysterious and curious language. One or the other would nod, and the rhythm would shift.

If you’re a fan of Hauschka, as I have been since The Prepared Piano (Karaoke Kalk, 2005), then you should not be surprised. His music on Silfra maintains the staccato arrangements so…

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Jeff Myers

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Composer Jeff Myers, whose name you probably have seen because violinist Hilary Hahn had this thing called the In 27 Pieces project where she had new pieces commissioned from 26 composers. When it was apparent that there was a 27th that was yet to be announced, she then launched a contest where up and coming composers were invited to submit a piece for Hilary to be selected as the 27th encore–Jeff was the selected winner with a work titled “The Angry Birds of Kauai”, and sadly, I have not yet heard it, but Alain Matalon, who recently attended Hilary’s concert in Turkey, has heard it (Published in Seen and Heard International, 1/7/13):

“Jeff Myers’ ‘The Angry Birds of Kauai’ (no relation to the popular computer game), the winner among the more than 400 works that were submitted for the project, is built upon a wide range of influences from Filipino kulintang music to overtone music. Mostly dodecaphonic in style, this high strung music gives equal weight to both instruments where the violin mimics the sound of exotic birds while the piano provides the sound of nature in the background.”

Continue reading

Hilary Hahn’s Recital in Turkey ~ A Review

Hilary Hahn performing at the İş Sanat Cultural Center, Istanbul, Turkey (Photo courtesy of İş Sanat)hilaryinistanbul

Hilary Hahn–Recital
Selections from In 27 Pieces and music from Bach, Corelli and Fauré
Hilary Hahn, violin
Cory Smythe, piano
Istanbul Concert Hall at İş Sanat Cultural Center
Istanbul, Turkey
Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Written by Alain Matalon

It is not, and certainly should not be, exclusive to luxury brand sponsored male pianists to make a fashion statement on the concert stage. Before she dazzled our ears, Ms. Hilary Hahn, stunned our visual slant as she appeared on stage in a close-fitting nude-colored gown adorned with ethnic embroidery on top, and below the waist, ten rows of golden tassels (that, as a friend put later “danced a frenetic foxtrot, or a genial waltz depending on the music she happened to be playing”). Accompanying her was Mr. Cory Smythe on the piano for an evening celebrating the union of the very old, the old, and the very new.

The duo was in Istanbul for a special evening to mark the fruits of Hilary Hahn’s recent In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores project. Out of the eight pieces that were played, four of them were World Premieres (and, according to Ms. Hahn, the other four were “Northern Hemisphere debuts”). The program was designed to reflect as much contrast as possible with the encore pieces scattered around the traditional ones.

hilaryinistanbul5The Corelli Op. 5 No. 4 in F Major, a rather easy feat for the competent pair, kicked the evening to a jocund start followed by three encores from the project in their world premiere: James Newton Howard’s “133… At Least”, a fast and uneasy number dealing mostly with rising and falling chromatic melodies in Ms. Hahn’s expert hands; A.G. Abril’s “Three Sighs”: a peculiar amalgam of lush and lyrical violin against sharp, staccato piano attacks from Mr.Smythe and Mason Bates’ “Ford’s Farm”, a rhythmically structured dance music accentuating the perfect sync between the two musicians. Continue reading

2012 ~ The Year in Music (In My Mind)

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This has not been a year where a lot of things jump out at me. I guess it’s safe to say that I am not a great music journalist when not every recording comes out and speaks to me in such a powerful way. Other people seem to find various strong points even about music they find only marginally satisfying. I tend to be less outspoken. I’m also still the sole writer and operator of this page, so, that is another factor, when it is very difficult to have the ability to even make the time for every recording and rank them accordingly.

I also have to say that it’s really against my personal beliefs to have a list of “best” albums in an order that gives the impression that I think certain recordings are better than others. Yes, I do have favorites, but it’s tough when you want to make a big list, and you put really good albums at the bottom end of it. And what are the factors that put lesser or greater value on those picks, exactly? I had a list last year, and even though I swore that it was not a list in the order of greatness, I still had the Hilary Hahn Ives recording listed first. That was definitely pointed out right away, but I still feel that I broke my own rule for the sake of Hilary Hahn, almost to the point that I was being biased. I do really like her Ives album, but I suppose that it was easier to start with that. I randomly listed some other releases last year, some of which I actually reviewed on the blog and others I didn’t, but did hear beforehand. Leah Kardos’ Feather Hammer was, for sure, a dark horse candidate for album of the year, and, in my opinion, a debut CD (even though she’d made music previously as My Lithium & Me) that surely sounds like a recording that’s going to be a difficult one for Ms. Kardos to top in the years to come.

Getting back to 2012, I think it’s easier to just talk about the year in music when I look at it this way: There were quite a few really good moments, but this year for me, Silfra by Hilary Hahn and Hauschka is definitely the clear winner if I were to choose a winner. Being that I like HH and everything, that is a certainty, but when I heard about it and I saw the cover, I knew that it was not going to be like the rest of her catalog. Continue reading