Hilary Hahn‘s first studio release was in 1997, with a disc of two of Bach’s Partitas and a Sonata for solo violin. More than 20 years later, she’s just released the followup on Decca, called Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, with the remaining Partita, and two Sonatas. She’ll be coming to San Francisco toward the beginning of November to play some of the repertoire that she’s been ‘collaborating with’ since she was a teenager.
You can find out more on her website.
“This music has been with me for so long, over such an arc of my life, that it’s hard to separate it out from my other musical experiences,” she says. And returning to the recording studio to bookend the remaining solo repertoire doesn’t feel like she’s going back to an earlier time, because they’ve been with her throughout. “It’s hard to describe why it’s hard to see my own development in the pieces, but it’s more just like such a part of my daily life, that I don’t really ever step back from it and analyze it. It’s just always there… Pretty much every concerto I’ve played, I’ve done a movement of solo Bach as an encore. Not as part of a plan, but I always just have it in my hands, because I’m always working on it. I don’t even carry the music with me anymore, because I just always have it in my head. It’s really beautiful music that seems to work for every audience and transforms every space I play it in.” That will be Davies Symphony Hall on November 4th, with a solo recital of Bach, which is something that she hadn’t done before this season. “It was partly because I just liked being on stage with other people, and partly because I didn’t see the need to just be there by myself. And I think it will show me even more about this music. My comfort level since the recordings has solidified even more. I spent all day, for days on end, playing these pieces like they were a performance. So compared to that, it feels pretty normal to play three of them through in an evening. You would think that there is a lot of pressure to do a solo program, to play Bach for the whole program. But it’s so familiar for me, that it feels like going on stage with a collaboration you’ve had since you were a teenager. You just know it like the back of your hand.”
Here’s Hilary Hahn, playing solo Bach as an encore after a concerto performance: