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 bodyRead 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.
Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64by Felix Mendelssohn
James Ehnes (Violin)
Period: Romantic Written: 1844; Germany
Octet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 20by Felix Mendelssohn
James Ehnes (Violin)
Seattle Chamber Music Octet
Period: Romantic Written: 1825; Germany
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
classical and RomanticOctober 26, 2013By 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