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Barber, Korngold, Walton: Violin Concertos / Ehnes, Tovey


Release Date: 10/31/2006 
Label:  Cbc Sm 5000 Series Catalog #: 5241   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Erich Wolfgang KorngoldSamuel BarberSir William Walton
Performer:  James Ehnes
Conductor:  Bramwell Tovey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vancouver Symphony
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These three violin concertos demonstrate the ongoing vitality and huge expressive range of the Romantic tradition in the first half of the 20th century, and as such they make a terrific program--varied, but never monotonous. Two of them, the Korngold and the Walton, are forever associated with the name of Heifetz, and as we all know that's a tough act to follow, but James Ehnes has nothing to fear from any competition. Although he's obviously an artist very different from his illustrious predecessor, he shares with him one very important quality: the ability to take the most difficult and virtuosic passages in stride, at tempo. This is most important in the central movement of the Walton and in the outer movements of the Korngold. Read more Especially in the latter work, it promises a welcome degree of rhythmic firmness and forward momentum, essential in a work that can easily degenerate into a sentimental wallow.


Barber's more plain-spoken brand of Romanticism offers a different set of challenges, particularly in differentiating the two opening movements and giving substance to the slender finale. Once again Ehnes both understands the nature of the job and gets it done, though without erasing memories of what arguably is Isaac Stern's best-ever concerto recording (with Bernstein, on Sony). Indeed, there's plenty of competition in all of this music, in particular from Gil Shaham's spectacularly good DG coupling of the Barber and Korngold concertos; but merely in terms of value for money this release represents a very good deal. The accompaniments also are very accomplished without being quite as rhythmically snappy in the Walton or as lyrically intense in the Barber as the best of the competition. The Korngold, on the other hand, is terrific: clear, clean, and shapely all the way through. Excellent balances and warm, natural sonics seal the bargain. A fine release from one of today's major young violinists.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Conductor:  Bramwell Tovey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vancouver Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Length: 25 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2. Concerto for Violin, Op. 14 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Conductor:  Bramwell Tovey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vancouver Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Length: 23 Minutes 30 Secs. 
3. Concerto for Violin in B minor by Sir William Walton
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin)
Conductor:  Bramwell Tovey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vancouver Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1939; England 
Length: 29 Minutes 59 Secs. 

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