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Barber, Korngold, Walton: Violin Concertos pour Violon

Samuel Barber , Erich Wolfgang Korngold , William Walton , Bramwell Tovey , Vancouver Symphony Orchestra , James Ehnes Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Import, 2007 $29.95  
Audio CD, 2006 --  

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James Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, at age nine he became a protege of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and from 1993 to 1997 at The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his ... Read more in Amazon's James Ehnes Store

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Product Details

  • Performer: James Ehnes
  • Orchestra: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Bramwell Tovey
  • Composer: Samuel Barber, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, William Walton
  • Audio CD (October 31, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B000I6AITO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,555 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Moderato Nobile
2. II. Romance: Andante
3. III. Finale: Allegro Assai Vivace
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Andante
6. III. Presto In Moto Perpetuo
7. I. Andante Tranquillo
8. II. Presto Capriccioso Alla Napolitana
9. III. Vivace

Editorial Reviews



Product Description

2008 GRAMMY Award Winner - Soloist with Orchestra

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This disc featuring Manitoba-born violinist James Ehnes (pronounced 'Ennis') confirms for me my suspicion that he is one of the best of the younger generation of violin soloists on the concert circuit. I had heard and greatly admired his earlier recordings of Bach's Unaccompanied Violin Partitas and of Mozart's five Violin Concerti, but this is the first I've heard him play anything from the Romantic violin concerto literature. And although these three concertos -- those by Korngold, Barber, and Walton -- are from the twentieth century they are quintessentially Romantic in thrust.

Korngold's luscious concerto, written in a style I've always thought of as '1940s Hollywood chromatic' (think of Raksin's 'Laura' or Korngold's own film scores) was premiered by Heifetz in 1947 (recorded by him in a best-selling recording of the period) and incorporates themes from several of Korngold's film scores (e.g., Another Dawn, Juarez, Anthony Adverse and The Prince and the Pauper). Ehnes's tone is perhaps less cholesterol-rich than some but he plays this crowd-pleasing work with conviction and brilliance, using robust or delicate tone where called for. He is particularly effective in the songful middle movement and in the set of variations that make up the finale.

The story is well known of how Barber was commissioned to write his violin concerto for the protégé of a rich industrialist only to have the young violinist refuse to play it because the finale was technically too difficult. The first two movements brim with ultra-lyrical themes that are underscored by plush orchestral accompaniment that place the soloist directly in the spotlight. The finale -- presto in moto perpetuo -- is a knuckle-busting showpiece.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Heard The Korngold Live November 27, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have this on order as of today, but since there are no reviews, I thought I'd report my thoughts on James Ehnes's playing of the Korngold at the November 26, 2006, Houston Symphony concert -- it was absolutely fantastic!

Hilary Hahn was originally scheduled to play, but could not due to an illness. Ehnes was asked to fill in on Monday. While I'm a fan of Ms. Hahn, I think she would be hard pressed to play the Korngold any better than James Ehnes. How can you surpass perfection? -smile-

As for the Korngold, I had not heard it in thirty years. In hindsight, I greatly regret this. It is a magnificent work. At the end of the first movement, the word "WOW" kept going through my head. I found the second movement so emotionally moving, I had to bite my lip to keep from falling apart and disturbing the audience. A plus was the sound of James Ehnes's Stradivarius (on loan), which was so beautiful, especially in the upper ranges of the instrument.

This was a truly remarkable performance, by a truly remarkable talent. I think we will be seeing much more from this relatively young Canadian violinist in the future. I heard Perlman, Zukermann, and Yo-Yo Ma early in their careers. It would not surprise me in the least if Ehnes eventually reaches their ranks in terms of popularity. His playing very well may already be there. We will see.

After I receive the CD and have listened to it, I will edit this review. I have also ordered Shaham to compare.

As an aside, I remain delighted by the exceptionally high, world class level of playing by Houston Symphony. At this time, I can't think of a single orchestra that I would prefer to hear over this one. Eschenbach mined the diamonds, and Graf has cut and polished them to perfection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ehnes is magical! May 30, 2008
Format:Audio CD
Saw this artist last night playing Beethoven's exquisite Violin Concerto here in FL. Ehnes is a brilliant and incredibly gifted violinist. His live performance was stunning and mesmerizing. Thunderous applause and multiple standing ovations. Just checking to see what other CDs I want to order. This CD won a Grammy this year. After hearing him in person as well as on CD, I can fully understand how he won that Grammy and has numerous other awards under his belt. I am sure we will be hearing more about him in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original and inspired coupling of the three concertos September 24, 2013
Format:Audio CD
This disc from 2006, considered to be well recorded by most but not all listeners, has created a unique and rewarding coupling by bringing together these three particular concertos. The three works were written on very similar dates, the Walton between 1938-9 than revised in 1943, the Barber being from 1939-40 and the Korngold in 1945.

The Korngold concerto is unusual insofar as the composer made extensive use of his previous successful film scores for thematic material. The Barber concerto is unusual insofar as the initial two movements are sufficiently focussed upon lyrical writing that the intended recipient complained that they did not contain sufficient display material but when faced with the contrasting fireworks of the final movement the same recipient complained of the movements extreme difficulty. The Walton concerto on the other hand, suffered from no such problems other than typical slowness in composition and then some revision.

All three works share an intense lyricism which has served both the Barber and Walton concertos well but the cinematic links to the Korngold concerto have been damaging and it has been difficult for it to get established upon the international concert circuit so far. This disc should help in that regard as Ehnes produces what seems to be a masterly performance of the Korngold playing it for its full romantic value and with complete technical assurance. Technical assurance is also vividly apparent in his delivery of the demanding final movement of the Barber concerto and of the challenging second movement of the Walton concerto while the strong lyrical requirements of all three concertos are equally well met.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 5-star playing, 1-star sound quality.
Solely based on the playing, this is a 5-star performance. Ehnes is a tremendous violinist, and I love a lot of what he does in these recordings. Read more
Published 1 month ago by david
5.0 out of 5 stars Highest recommendation
Got this for the Korngold concerto. Haven't listened much to the Barber and Walton concertos. Got this recording as I was impressed with James Ehnes rendition of the Elgar... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Donnie Darko
5.0 out of 5 stars James Ehnes triumphs with Korngold, Barber, and Walton violin...
This CD is one of my favorites. I especially like the Korngold concerto. The soaring melodies and bravura passages move the listener beyond mere competent music making. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Joseph Barba
5.0 out of 5 stars A BIG SURPRISE!
The selections and performance were beyond my expectations. I was particularly impressed with Korngold's Violin Concerto, and James Ehnes is a wonderful talent. Read more
Published 15 months ago by L. Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performance of great music
What more can I say? Ehnes plays wonderfully and the concertos are not commonly heard. I liked the Walton the least, but that's my own preference, not a reflection on Ehnes, or... Read more
Published 21 months ago by D. Fuller
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 of the best
A programme featuring my 3 favourite (Romantic) 20th Century Violin concertos is always going to get my attention, and it helps that the 3 composers in question are also masters of... Read more
Published on April 18, 2012 by Sebastien Maury
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate, but there are better recordings
Of the three concertos I am most familiar with the Korngold, and already had recordings by Heifetz with Wallenstein and the LA Phil [1], and Perlman with Previn and the Pittsburgh... Read more
Published on December 3, 2009 by Ursiform
5.0 out of 5 stars Best versions of all three concerti
As far as I'm concerned, James Ehnes is the best violinist in the world. Strong statement? Yes. But I stand by it. Read more
Published on August 28, 2008 by Philip F. Jensen
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor engineering, deliberate performance
I bought this for the Walton exclusively.

This is yet another example of a new classical recording suffering from substandard mixing and/or mastering. Read more
Published on March 7, 2008 by KDS
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