Music saves me. I am passionate about music, and some music can lift me out of the blackest despair, at least for a little while. I enjoy many different kinds of music, from metal to folk to hip-hop to jazz. But of all the music I have ever heard, there is one CD that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Prior to listening to Hilary Hahn’s album “Hilary Hahn Plays Bach”, I was not particularly a fan of either solo violin or Bach’s secular work. That all changed when I listened to the aforementioned CD, however. I had heard Hilary as a guest soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and was very favorably impressed, so eventually I made a point of picking up her (at the time only) CD. And listened to it. And caught my breath. And listened again.
Ms. Hahn was (I believe) 17 when she made this album. (I shudder to think what I was doing when I was 17….) They set up a sound stage in a church, and she managed to make a spectacularly haunting and angelic recording of a most difficult set of works, the Bach partitas for solo violin. I still get shivers just thinking about how beautiful the music is.
After listening to this CD, I became a born-again Bach fan, and went on to get the cello suites by both Pablo Casals and YoYo Ma, as well as other stuff I could find. Of course, I also acquired whatever Hilary released after that. For my money, though, “Hilary Hahn Plays Bach” will remain her magnum opus. Listen to it if you can, even if you don’t like classical music. You may end up changing your mind.
Thanks, Hilary. I might have survived without you, but it would have been a bleaker existence by far.