Hilary Hahn is now 33 years old, and for all but the first three of those years she has been playing the violin. She burst onto the musical scene half her life ago, when at the age of 16 she received an exclusive recording contract from Sony Classical. The label audaciously introduced her to the world with a CD of unaccompanied works by Johann Sebastian Bach, the holiest destinations of the violin repertoire. Many listeners responded with shock: the chutzpah of Sony, introducing such a young artist through pieces that require a lifetime to fathom! But even the doubters had to acknowledge that Hahn had serious chops, that even in a concert world populated by not a few violin prodigies, she was an impressive player.
On Feb. 19, Santa Fe Concert Association sponsored Hahn in a recital at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, and she demonstrated that her skills as a technical violinist have only grown. But the evening also revealed a characteristic that has surfaced with troubling regularity in the intervening years: her interpretations do not always reach deep. Every piece she performed displayed superb violin playing, but in the end, her concert did not nourish on an emotional or spiritual plane.
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