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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto / James Ehnes

Audio Samples

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Serenade melancolique for Violin and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 26
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Valse-Scherzo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, Op. 34
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Souvenir d'un lieu cher

Album Summary

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Serenade melancolique for Violin and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 26
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Valse-Scherzo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, Op. 34
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Souvenir d'un lieu cher
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

As a follow-up to his acclaimed recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, James Ehnes once again collaborates with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Sydney Symphony for an all-Tchaikovsky program, recorded live in Sydney. The disc contains the composer's complete works for violin and orchestra, from the beloved Violin Concerto to the less frequently heard Valse-Scherzo. It also includes a delightful bonus - the Souvenir d'un lieu cher with Ashkenazy at the piano. This is a must-have disc for all lovers of violin music. Ehnes is a major talent who is finally getting his well-deserved time in the spotlight.

"My eyes lit up when I saw that Canadian violinist James Ehnes has just released a concert recording of the Tchaikovsky concerto made in Sydney, especially with a Tchaikovskian of the calibre of Vladimir Ashkenazy...I love the way Ashkenazy controls the tempo of the opening, even when the chugging cellos and basses propel us towards the soloist's first entry, and from that point on, basically, you know they're going to have all the time in the world to explore Tchaikovsky's poetic side without having to hurl themselves headlong at the pyrotechnics. Ehnes brings a lovely conversational quality to his dialogue with the orchestra. He's balanced realistically against them, and it allows you to appreciate the sometimes rugged charm of the orchestral writing as Ehnes soars eloquently overhead. The second movement canzonetta has a velvety, muted passion and the finale's explosive opening is impressively urgent, and when Ehnes launches into his solo he leaves room to breathe. It's so expressive, and not just a hyperventilating rush for the line. Fine work, not least from the recording team, and Tchaikovsky's 'Sérénade Mélancolique', his 'Valse-scherzo' and lastly the three-movement 'Souvenir', with Ashkenazy the pianist, makes this a Tchaikovskian's delight." -BBC Radio 3

"Even in the bravura passages, James Ehnes' bowing seems calm and effortless. Elegent and technically adept, Ehnes is never tempted into over-emotional flourishes: each phrase is precisely measured. It's not a cold performance - it is, after all, Tchaikovsky. But Ehnes never lets that act as an excuse for overplaying, as demonstrated by the solo passage 10 minutes into the first movement, a knife edge dance of subtle and illuminating dexterity." -The Independent

The Telegraph
Ehnes is not a violinist to use bravura as an end in itself...His dexterity is a marvel of lightness and precision in the finale, but it is consistently aimed towards a musical goal, the range of tone beautifully judged and, as in the first movement, the structure and direction kept in clear view. This is a consummate performance...All in all, the disc makes a fine start to 2012.

Sunday Times
Ehnes's virtuosity impresses on account of its virtue. He makes a ravishing sound and meets every technical challenge thrown at him with utterly reliable intonation, tonal consistency and beautifully controlled articulation. What distinguishes him, however, is an almost self-effacing intelligence.

Gramophone Magazine
The sound of Ehnes's violin is especially full and expressive; it's not the kind of tone Tchaikovsky would have recognised but it sound gorgeous and allows him to rise to the concerto's lyrical high spots with considerable intensity. Even his muted tone in the Canzonetta is exceptionally warm and resonant. He clearly enjoys demonstrating his ability as a virtuoso, making this one of the most exciting accounts of the finale I can remember.

International Record Review
Ehnes and Ashkenazy deliver a particularly beautiful account of the slow movement...Ehnes demonstrates his characteristically phenomenal technical assurance while bringing out all the fire in the music too...their disc can be recommended warmly not only for the excellent if occasionally strait-laced Concerto but - above all - for the other pieces, which have seldom been recorded with such poise and poetry.

Musical Opinion, 12th June 2012
I found this disc a marvellous experience, both technically and musically, and it has already qualified as one of my discs of the year...The key word that characterises his playing is grace. Right from the off, his playing glows with such beauty that the violin seems to have a singing quality that suits this music right to the core...This is the finest reading of the concerto that I have come across in a very long time, and I urge lovers of the work to hear it.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sydney Opera House (12/09/2010-12/11/2010).



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Works Details

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35
  • Performer: James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Ensemble: Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Sydney Opera House (12/09/2010-12/11/2010)
  • Running Time: 34 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1878

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Sérénade mélancolique for Violin and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 26
  • Performer: James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Notes: Sydney Opera House (12/09/2010-12/11/2010)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1875

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Valse-Scherzo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, Op. 34
  • Performer: James Ehnes (Violin)
  • Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Notes: Sydney Opera House (12/09/2010-12/11/2010)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1877

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Souvenir d'un lieu cher
  • Performers: James Ehnes (Violin); Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
  • Notes: Sydney Opera House (12/09/2010-12/11/2010)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1878