Title - '6 Partitas by Antón García Abril ' [Vinyl]
Artist - Hilary Hahn
For those not in the know, Hilary Hahn is an American violinist who in her career has performed throughout the world both as a soloist with leading orchestras and conductors and as a recitalist.
She also built a reputation as a champion of contemporary music. Several composers have written works especially for her, including concerti by Edgar Meyer and Jennifer Higdon and partitas by Antón García Abril.
Following the widely celebrated release of Hilary Hahn Plays Bach on Decca Classics last fall, Hilary Hahn returns with a world premiere recording of 6 Partitas by Antón García Abril (released May 17th, 2019 via Decca Classics / Universal Music Canada); her first-ever solo commission and her first of a set of pieces from a single composer.
1. Heart (14:33)
2. Immensity (7:06)
3. Love (9:11)
4. Art (8:56)
5. Reflective (8:03)
6. You (12;27)
“This commission led me to an enthusiastic and long-meditated work,” said García Abril. “I had the great fortune to compose them directly with Hilary… [her] generosity and interest in the work makes her one of the all-time greats, unique and powerful — not only artistically but at the same time intellectually, placing her in a higher musical state.”
Each movement has a different theme, displays its own personality, and is deeply tied to the performer for whom the work was written. So much so that García Abril chose to name the movements (as you may have notied above) after Hahn in acrostic: Heart, Immensity, Love, Art, Reflective, and You.
“Before these pieces existed,” adds Hahn, “I knew they needed to be written. Antón García Abril deeply understands the violin, and he epitomizes a musical tradition that has never before been expressed in the solo violin repertoire. His voice is romantic and impulsive, abrasive, beautiful.”
Commissioned by Hahn, these six Partitas from García Abril - which we were lucky enough to receive for review as a vinyl record (within a sumptuous gatefold sleeve) - which, to my mind is the only way to listen to any kind of music) allows to continue a wondrous tradition as well as allowing to amplify the profound dedication to the art from an important contemporary composer outside of his home country.
Likewise, it's obvious as we listen in throughout the work of musical art that García Abril found inspiration in Hahn’s technical proficiency and interpretational skill; evidently writing her personality and mastery of the violin into the music itself.
That said, for the player, the partitas are technically as well as musically challenging. "To really find the music in them, you need to spend some time with them, and you also have to understand the Spanish rhythms, as well as his own personal sense of rhythm and freedom," Hahn has admitted.
"That was really a revelation to me. Sometimes García Abril wanted the opposite of what might be conventional. For example, when he writes 'rubato,' he means to start fast and then broaden. When he writes 'free' he means to broaden."
"When he sings and demonstrates it, when he speaks about the music, if you are privy to that information I think you can see it reflected in everything that he does."
For that reason, Hahn is releasing a number of YouTube videos in conjunction with the new recording, including interviews with García Abril and mini-masterclasses about each piece.
"You can see in the interview video that he speaks in grand terms," Hahn adds. "He is a senior artist in his country who is revered as an authority on a lot of things. In Spain he is one of the great living composers and very well known."
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