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Classical Album of the Week: Violinist Hilary Hahn Plays J.S. Bach

November 5, 2018: Celebrated violinist Hilary Hahn is out with a new album of solo works by J.S. Bach.  It completes a cycle she started at age 17, when she chose for her debut album two of Bach's three partitias and one of his three sonatas. Now, in Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, she's recorded the remaining one partita and two sonatas. 

Hilary Hahn was 17 when she recorded this Bach album.

When Hilary recorded the first three works back in 1997, she wasn't intending to record the complete set. "Three of the pieces fit very well into a CD and I just picked the three that I was most familiar with, the three I played the most." 

But as the years went by, fans and colleagues alike kept asking for the others.

"So eventually I thought, enough time has passed. I should do that. But I liked having it as something to look foreward to. It's a funny feeling when its actually done, and the whole set is recorded, over 20 years, granted. But it is complete now." 

These solo pieces by Bach, she says, have obtained "cult status" among violinists and music students. "It's notoriously difficult to play these works technically, but also musically,there are so many directions you can go in with these pieces that you can play them in all these different styles." 

Read Q&A with Hilary Hahn here.

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.