Unlike most albums of violin encores featuring the most popular showpieces in the repertoire, In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores introduces original works for violin and piano that have been specially commissioned by Hilary Hahn in an effort to rejuvenate this specialized musical category. The pieces recorded here are not easy to pigeonhole, either stylistically or by moods, and while Hahn and pianist Cory Smythe bring considerable verve and presence to each, they all have distinctive characteristics and sound profiles: some are bright and virtuosic, and others rhythmic and dancelike, while still others are serious and thoughtful. The roster of composers includes some familiar names, such as David del Tredici, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jennifer Higdon, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Lera Auerbach, James Newton Howard, and Max Richter, along with 21 other composers from around the world, showing Hahn's openness to many traditions and expressions outside standard European classics. Of course, encores are usually presented at the end of recitals and given a certain pride of place in that spot, so they tend to receive focused attention. In a setting of nothing but encores, especially in a double-CD package, they tend to compete for the listener's attention, and some naturally will require repeated listening to create a stronger impression. Taken altogether, this is an attractive collection of chamber music, and Hahn's project is an unqulified success.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2