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Bartók: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2; Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2 / James Ehnes, violin; Andrew Armstrong, piano

Album Summary

>Bartók, Béla : Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 1, Sz 86
>Bartók, Béla : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2, Sz 76
>Bartók, Béla : Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 2, Sz 89
>Bartók, Béla : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1, Sz 75
>Bartók, Béla : Albumblatt (Andante), for violin & piano in A major, DD 70, BB 26b
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This is the second volume in a series devoted to the works for strings by Béla Bartók, with James Ehnes the featured soloist. Earlier this year, Ehnes recorded the Violin and Viola Concertos, which was made Disc of the Month in Gramophone magazine. On this new recording, he turns to the Violin Sonatas and Rhapsodies, complemented by the earliest surviving work by Bartók for violin and piano, an Andante. Of the two sonatas, the Sonata in C sharp minor is the more traditional in terms of its structure, and characterised by a mood that is sometimes exhilarated, sometimes turbulent - but always virtuosic. In the Sonata in C major, Bartók removes himself from classical form and traditional tonal practice, calling on the violinist to distance himself from the romantic manner of playing. Exuberant and infectious, Bartók's two rhapsodies for piano and violin are steeped in the tradition of Hungarian folk music.

"The performances are assertive but never excessively forceful, tonally sweet (useful in this often acerbic music) and, from Andrew Armstrong's standpoint, almost impressionist in their projection of nuance and tonal shading...an exceedingly generous programme (80'30''), expertly engineered, well planned, beautifully executed." Gramophone Magazine, March 2012

"They are performances of outstanding musical insight and technical brilliance...James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong perfectly encapsulate the anxieties projecting in both works...But they also find room for repose and reflection...As with Ehnes's recording of the Concertos, the present collection sweeps the board in terms of performance and generosity alike." BBC Music Magazine, March 2012 *****

International Record Review
Ehnes has the measure of the fractured sonata design of the Allegro appassionato [in No. 1]... [He] gives a tellingly understated account of the preludial Molto moderato [in No. 2], dovetailing into a main Allegretto which open out its thematic and expressive potential so the work as a whole seems to unfold seamlessly towards a rapt and unifying postlude.

MusicWeb International, June 2012
This is a magnificent disc, wonderful playing captured in fantastic sound, and a fine way to begin an exploration of Bartók's work in this genre. Roll on Volume Two.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/30/2011-06/01/2011).



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Works Details

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 1, Sz 86
  • Performers: Andrew Armstrong (Piano); James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/30/2011-06/01/2011)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2, Sz 76
  • Performers: Andrew Armstrong (Piano); James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/30/2011-06/01/2011)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1922

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 2, Sz 89
  • Performers: Andrew Armstrong (Piano); James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/30/2011-06/01/2011)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1, Sz 75
  • Performers: Andrew Armstrong (Piano); James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/30/2011-06/01/2011)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Albumblatt (Andante), for violin & piano in A major, DD 70, BB 26b
  • Performers: Andrew Armstrong (Piano); James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/30/2011-06/01/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1902

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Rhapsody for Violin and Piano no 1, Sz 86
  • Performers: Andrew Armstrong (Piano); James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/30/2011-06/01/2011)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928