CD OF THE WEEK
"This is a must-have disc"
Daily Telegraph - 11 November 2006
"This is a must-have disc from the renowned Canadian violinist James Ehnes. ... All in all, highly recommended."
MusicOMH.com - 24 November 2006
"No violinist before, as far as I’m aware, has programmed these three concertos on a single disc, but they make obvious companions. The Korngold (”more corn than gold" in the waspish judgment of the American critic Irving Kolodin) and the Walton were written for Heifetz, and exploit that virtuoso’s fabulous technique and passionate temperament. Barber’s more restrained, wistful and nostalgic concerto offers a complete contrast, while sharing Korngold’s and Walton’s neo-Romantic idiom. The young Canadian James Ehnes proves an admirable champion of all three works, unfazed by the technical demands of Korngold and Walton, and wallowing in their rhapsodic melodies. This is gorgeous music, sumptuously performed by Ehnes and his fellow Canadians under the idiomatic Brit Bramwell Tovey." ****
Sunday Times - 26 November 2006
"Absolutely first rate...the liner notes quote a critic describing Ehnes as ’one of the most gifted and sincerely expressive artists to have emerged in recent times.’ On the evidence of this CD it’s hard to disagree. He draws from his 1715 Stradivarius a stream of beautifully sensuous sounds that never tip over into sentimentality...Recommended with all possible enthusiasm."
Mail On Sunday - 17 December 2006
"The young James Ehnes plays with attractive tone and formidable technical command...it’s all thoroughly musical and convincing..the immensely talented Ehnes and his colleagues certainly give us plenty to enjoy in this highly attractive programme." ****
BBC Music Magazine - January 2007
"A fine violinist excels himself in an outstanding trio of romantic concertos
It’s an inspired coupling, as well as a generous one, to have these three high-romantic concertos together. James Ehnes gives superb performances, bringing out their full emotional thrust without vulgarity or exaggeration. His playing has always been impressive on disc, but here he excels himself in expressive range as well as the tonal beauty, with expressive rubato perfectly controlled.
The concertos date from the late-1930s and ’40s, and though at such time their romanticism might have seemed outdated, the strength and memorability of the musical ideas in each amply justifies the composers’ stance. In the Barber, Ehnes more than usual brings out the contrast between the first movement - improbably marked Allegro when the impression is of a slowish piece - and the Andante slow movement, strengthening the work’s impact. The Korngold, drawing its striking main themes from some of the composer’s film scores, is just as richly lyrical, prompting from Ehnes some ecstatic playing of the many stratospheric melodies above the stave, using a wide dynamic range with wonderfully delicate half-tones.
The Walton is just as memorable, for unlike most latter-day interpreters Ehnes has taken note of the example of the work’s commissioner and dedicatee, Jascha Heifetz. Where the work is generally spread to well over half an hour, Ehnes takes exactly 30 minutes and the result is all the stronger. This is one of Walton’s most richly inspired works, and Ehnes brings that out strongly, helped by the powerful playing of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under its music director Bramwell Tovey. Textures are not always as transparent as they might be, but the power of the orchestral playing in all three works adds greatly to the impact of the performances. An outstanding disc in every way."
Gramophone - February 2007
De Repertoire - February 2007
"A fine release from one of today’s major young violinists."
"Young Canadian violinist James Ehnes scores a bull’s eye with a generously packed issue of late Romantic concertos by Korngold, Barber – and, unexpectedly, Walton. Superb interpretations on ONYX4016 makes this a triumph by any standards.”
Time Out - New Year Round-up 2007
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