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Hilary Hahn's first-ever Alice Tully Hall violin-alone recital culminates in the majestic Chaconne from Bach: Partita No. 2 / The New York Times

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Encores have never been an afterthought for Hilary Hahn. In recent years, this brilliant violinist has commissioned 27 short solo pieces from as many composers to expand her stash of end-of-concert treats.

She might have been expected to pick one on Tuesday, when she gave her first-ever violin-alone recital in New York at Alice Tully Hall as part of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival. But her evening of Bach culminated in the sprawling, majestic Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 - the Everest of the violin repertory. Which one of her commissioned encores would she pick to follow that?

It was a gutsy choice. But as I listened to Ms. Hahn, 38, embark once more on that 18-minute workout of runs, arpeggios and triple stops, I felt some of the magic drain out of the evening. That's because this time around, my focus shifted from Bach's genius to Ms. Hahn's skill, and to the audible deliberation that went into every note.

Sure, the occasional bass tone rang out even more forcefully on her second go; Ms. Hahn took extra time on one thoughtful pause and allowed herself a tiny slurp on an expressive slide from one note to the next. But her interpretation had clearly been hewed in stone, one meticulous stroke at a time.

What most surprised me about Ms. Hahn's take on Bach - she performed the first sonata and the first two partitas - was its throwback glamour. On Tuesday she played on an 1865 Vuillaume (one of two instruments by that maker that she used for her new Bach recording), producing a high-gloss sound of enormous power. There is an uncanny high-definition quality to the consistency of that sound: Across strings, in different registers and bow strokes, it maintains the same brilliance and focus.

In meditative movements like the Adagio of the G Minor Sonata, Ms. Hahn takes an unabashedly Romantic approach, with slow tempos that allow her to spin out the melody in shiny ribbons. Her take on that sonata's fugue, too, was designed to maximize sound, with short notes rendered solid - almost broad - and only the difficult triple stops ringing out harshly, like gunshots.

Ms. Hahn dispatched fast movements like the Gigue of the D Minor Partita with such fire and panache that the audience erupted in spontaneous (and graciously acknowledged) applause. With sure dramatic instinct she zoomed in on moments of pathos, lingering on a sighing motif, or building up crescendos with muscular impatience.

Her playing evoked the Bach of past generations, like Itzhak Perlman's recording from 1988. Her contemporaries often now play this repertory with feathered bow strokes, gestural phrasing and swift tempos inspired by the historically-informed-performance movement. Ms. Hahn plays as if that shift never occurred.