Hahn Solo: Sibelius Violin Concerto

Welcome to Hahn Solo: Sibelius edition! In this ongoing series, I perform only the solo violin part of some of my favorite concertos. I hope that, by hearing the parts separately, you’ll pick up on things you wouldn’t otherwise notice, and enjoy the piece even more when you hear it as a whole!

A concerto includes music written for soloist and for orchestra. But outside of the practice room, neither the audience nor the violinist working on the piece ever gets to hear the solo part without the orchestra.

While no concerto is just about the soloist, sometimes it helps to examine a single part in order to understand the whole. I find that hearing the violin part by itself not only highlights how complex it is on its own, but how the solo and orchestral parts support one another in ways that listeners might not be aware of. While each part can stand on its own as a nuanced piece of music, everything comes into focus when you hear the richness of the piece as a whole; their subtleties complement one another.

I have been wanting to try this out as an experimental performance format for a long time. I finally got the opportunity during my residency at Radio France in May 2019, rehearsing an hour before a concert while a friend captured it on my phone. While we missed a few moments here and there, I hope that you’ll find this performance both educational and fun.

Try watching this video side by side with the whole concerto, recorded live on May 2, 2019 with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and see what your new perspective brings:

-Hilary Hahn