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Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Octet / Ehnes, Ashkenazy, Philharmonia Orchestra

Mendelssohn / Ehnes / Scms / Pao
Release Date: 01/11/2011 
Label:  Onyx   Catalog #: 4060  
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  James Ehnes
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraSeattle Chamber Music Octet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Flawless, perfect, profound; James Ehnes scores another home run with this incomparable performance.

English has too few superlatives to describe the musicianship of James Ehnes. Disc after disc and concert after concert prove him to be - as British virtuoso Jack Liebeck described him - ‘bullet proof’. One might wonder if there was anything fresh to bring to Mendelssohn’s well worn violin concerto. Listen to this disc and find out. With spotless intonation, a ravishing tone and an incomparable fleetness of finger, Ehnes combines his impeccable technique with a profundity of understanding that is unmatchable. He brings off the flashy outer movements with seemingly no effort, as if the music just flowed out of his body
Read more like water. And then there’s the stunning middle movement. Never in my 47 years have I heard such gorgeous sounds rendered with such tenderness and depth of emotion. I wept when I heard it the first time. Ehnes’ playing is so perfect that one might wonder if studio tricks were involved. But no! This was recorded in concert, and having been lucky enough to have heard Mr. Ehnes play on a number of occasions, I will gladly vouch for his ability to play flawlessly live.
 
He is joined by an outstanding group of Seattle musicians for a fine performance of the youthfully exuberant Octet. Composed when Mendelssohn was but a lad of sixteen, the music is full of the optimistic sunshine of brilliant youth. Mr. Ehnes has been associated with the Seattle Chamber Music Society for a handful of seasons now, and it is evident that the rapport between these players is of the highest order. Splendid ensemble is combined with a richness of tone that is a joy to hear. It is amazing to think that a mere teenager could be capable of writing music that is not only formally perfect, but also possesses a depth of feeling unheard of in today’s youth.
 
Having gushed enough, let’s close by saying that this is a must-have for any music-lover. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
 
-- Kevin Sutton, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Germany 
2.
Octet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 20 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Chamber Music Octet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 classical and Romantic October 26, 2013 By Mark Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh, PA) See All My Reviews "I am very happy with this recording. The violin is as deft and soaring as in any version I recall of the violin concerto. The level of passion seems right, and the balance of the orchestra and violin works very well. The octet ought not be overlooked either - melodious and integral, it complements the concerto. It's the kind of CD where you want to hear the entirety each time. The artistry of this violinist is quite praiseworthy, and he seems to have no difficulty with the technical aspect either." Report Abuse
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