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Mozart: Violin Concertos 1-5 / James Ehnes


Release Date: 02/07/2006 
Label:  Cbc Sm 5000 Series Catalog #: 5238   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Violin Concertos: Nos. 1?5. Adagio in E, K 261. Rondos: in B?, K 269; in C, K 373 ? James Ehnes (vn), cond; Mozart Anniversary O ? CBC SMCD 5238 (2 CDs: 143:11)


Canadian violinist James Ehnes happens to be 220 years younger to the day than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the present set of concertos was conceived and executed to commemorate the former?s 30th Read more birthday anniversary and the latter?s 250th in January of 2006. A good thing indeed.


The sound Ehnes draws from his 1715 Strad is more sweet than robust?doubtless, at least in part, a conscious choice motivated by the nature of the music itself and by considerations of balance with the pleasingly diminutive orchestra, though it maybe accentuated a bit by the slightly brightish sonic engineering. Still, the results are chocolate to the ear?well-judged tempos, stylish phrasing and articulation, balances always well calculated. As satisfying as all these renditions are, I find No. 5 a bit special: the deliberately paced outer sections in the ?Turkish? finale nicely frame a truly exhilarating central minor-mode episode, and Ehnes?s cadenzas?always well proportioned and idiomatic?get a bit more adventurous with the double stops and upper-register writing, to this listener?s even greater pleasure.


Ehnes also provides his own highly literate annotations; one might be tempted to castigate him for going a bit light on the music itself, but the simple and sad fact is that not much is known about the background of these pieces, nearly all penned while the composer was still in his teens. Ehnes is particularly thorough when it comes to ornamentation and the aforementioned cadenzas; and the booklet also provides individual biographies for every member of the handpicked orchestra?the string complement is 6-5-4-4-2, plus pairs of horns and oboes (the latter replaced by flutes in a couple of movements).


It won?t come as news that the field of ?competition? for this release is a crowded one; or that no single reviewer can hope to comment usefully on more than a small portion of it. In the present case, the comparisons at hand included the predictably bigger-sounding Zukerman/St. Paul and Francescatti/Walter; both have their merits, but neither, in the end, strikes me as substantially or even slightly preferable to the present readings. Budget-conscious basic collectors might turn to Grumiaux, a generally well-regarded Mozartean, on Philips; or to Naxos?s more-or-less house violinist Takako Nishizaki, whose way with Mozart isn?t known to me, but who has impressed me favorably in a couple of Beethoven sonatas. But otherwise, the effect of Ehnes?s unusually small orchestra (not to belittle his violin-playing, of course) is so satisfying as to be well worth hearing even for listeners who already own other recordings that they like perfectly well. Recommended.


FANFARE: James Carson
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 1 in B flat major, K 207 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 2 in D major, K 211 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
3.
Adagio for Violin and Orchestra in E major, K 261 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Written: 1776 
4.
Rondo for Violin and Orchestra no 1 in B flat major, K 269 (261a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1776; Salzburg, Austria 
5.
Rondo for Violin and Orchestra no 2 in C major, K 373 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Written: 1781 
6.
Concerto for Violin no 3 in G major, K 216 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775; Salzburg, Austria 
7.
Concerto for Violin no 4 in D major, K 218 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1775 
8.
Concerto for Violin no 5 in A major, K 219 "Turkish" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Anniversary Orchestra
Written: 1775 

Sound Samples

Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K. 207: I. Allegro moderato
Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K. 207: II. Adagio
Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K. 207: III. Presto
Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 211: I. Allegro moderato
Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 211: II. Andante
Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 211: III. Rondeau: Allegro
Adagio in E major, K. 261
Rondo in B flat major, K. 269: Allegro
Rondo in C major, K. 373: Allegretto grazioso
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216: I. Allegro
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216: II. Adagio
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216: III. Rondeau: Allegro
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218: I. Allegro
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218: II. Andante cantabile
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218: III. Rondeau: Andante grazioso
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, "Turkish": I. Allegro aperto
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, "Turkish": II. Adagio
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, "Turkish": III. Rondeau: Tempo di Menuetto

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