#6

'Schoenberg + Sibelius Violin Concertos' (2008)

6/10

More than the sum of its estimable parts, this disc by Hilary Hahn (violin) and Esa-Pekka Salonen (conductor), also reflects one of the big shifts in classical-music culture during the aughts. Instead of simply ignoring the wild advances of 20th-century composers, as was often done by big labels in the past, this decade saw a renewed interest in modern works. One man to credit is New Yorker critic (and MacArthur grant winner) Alex Ross, whose bestselling book, The Rest Is Noise, made a passionate and learned case for 20th-century repertoire. But also credit Esa-Pekka Salonen, until this year the forward-thinking musical director of the L.A. Philharmonic, and the conductor on this disc (as well as a promising composer himself, on the basis of his Piano Concerto, issued in 2009 by Deutsche Grammophon). Here he supports Hilary Hahn as she courageously treads onto riskier ground than Bach. She rises to the occasion by teasing out the grace that was (sometimes) latent in Arnold Schoenberg’s atonal writing. The concerto by Jean Sibelius—another Salonen conducting specialty—is a gem, as well.

6/10

Discussion