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Hilary Hahn Has a Special Place In Her Heart for This Concerto

Hilary Hahn

Does a song, or even a symphony, trigger memories of important moments and milestones in your life? For violinist Hillary Hahn, a little-known, 19th-century concerto is an important part of her history and her current repertoire.

On Sunday, August 21st at 1 pm on WRTI, listen to a re-broadcast of Hilary Hahn playing Henri Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 4 with The Philadelphia Orchestra in a concert recorded live in December, 2015.

Listen to more of Susan's interview with Hilary Hahn about what Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 4 means to her.

Radio script:

MUSIC: Vieuxtemp's Violin Concerto No. 4, Hilary Hahn and The Philadelphia Orchestra

Susan Lewis:  The fourth violin concerto of Belgian violinist and composer Henri Vieuxtemps is like an old friend to Hilary Hahn.

Hilary Hahn: It was the last thing I learned before I started studying at the Curtis Institute of Music when I was 10 years old. I was taught by my Russian teacher, Klara Berkovich.

SL: She also can trace a student/teacher connection with the composer himself.

HH:   Vieuxtemps taught Eugène Ysaÿe, the great Belgian violinist. And Ysaÿe taught my teacher, Jascha Brodsky, with whom I studied at Curtis.

SL: But her love for the work is more than personal. Hahn says the concerto really shows off the violin, both musically and technically.

HH: It’s also very operatic; it has these theatrical elements to it, a lot of flourishes, and a lot of simple lines that enable the performer to really express a lot of different things. And it has some beautiful soaring, complex elements as well. So there’s a lot to work with.

SL:  Vieuxtemps, who composed mostly for violin, lived for many years in Paris, and for five years in Russia, where he started a violin school at the conservatory in St. Petersburg. Hahn has recorded the work with another work from her past - Mozart’s 5th Violin Concerto, which was the first piece she studied at Curtis, with her teacher there, Jascha Brodsky. 

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.