Three-time Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn has announced she will release her new album Paris on 5 March 2021. Hahn pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of a city that has been close to her heart throughout her career on her new recording which features her renewed partnership with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and its Music Director, Mikko Franck. Paris includes the world premiere recording of Rautavaara’s final score, Deux Sérénades, Poème by Parisian-born composer Chausson, and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1, first performed in the French capital in 1923.
“Paris is about expression”
“Paris,” Hilary Hahn explained, “is about expression, it’s about emotion, it’s about feeling connected to a city and a cultural intersection, in a way that’s inspiring for the player and the listener. It has Parisian threads all the way through it. But it’s also a big reference to the arc of my career. I’ve been playing in Paris since I was a teenager. Almost every time I’ve played there with orchestra, it’s been with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.”
Includes the world premiere recording of Rautavaara’s final score
The initial idea for recording Paris grew from Hilary Hahn’s term as artist-in-residence with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France across the 2018-19 season. Following a performance of Rautavaara’s Violin Concerto in 2014 with Mikko Franck, who was a close friend of the composer and is the leading interpreter of his work, Hahn asked Franck if he thought Rautavaara might write a new concerto for them. Franck discussed the possibility of a set of serenades, instead of a concerto, with the composer but as he was ill the realization seemed unlikely. Following his death in July 2016 Rautavaara’s widow shocked Franck by showing him the near-complete manuscript of an elegiac composition for violin and orchestra.
“Mikko realized immediately that this was our piece,” recalled Hahn. “Our recording is from the February 2019 world premiere, which closed out Rautavaara’s catalogue in an emotional and poignant historical performance. After the final note, Mikko raised the score towards the heavens, acknowledging the composer’s presence in spirit.”
To join Rautavaara’s Deux Sérénades on her new album Hilary Hahn chose two pieces rooted in the history of music-making in Paris – Poème by Parisian-born composer Chausson, which Hahn describes as a “quintessentially expressive work,” and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 which was first performed in Paris in October 1923.
“Performing this concerto is a life-affirming experience,” noted Hilary Hahn. “It’s a rule-breaker of a concerto. It’s one of my favourite pieces to play. I feel like I’m on a racetrack sometimes; at other times I feel like I’m floating in the ether. It’s mercurial – it changes constantly, so it keeps you on your toes as a listener and a performer.”
“These pieces together represent a living history of artistic culture”
“These pieces together represent a living history of artistic culture,” explained Hilary Hahn. Everything in this recording is a labour of love, for the love of music and for the love of expression.”
Hilary Hahn’s new album Paris will be released on 5 March 2021 and can be pre-ordered here.