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Bartok: Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 1


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Biography

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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Frequently Bought Together

Bartok: Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 1 + Bartok: Works For Violin & Piano (James Ehnes, Andrew Armstrong) (Sonatas And Folk Dances) (Chandos: CHAN 10752)
Price For Both: £26.02

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Product details

  • Composer: Béla Bartók
  • Audio CD (3 Jan. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B0069TWDA6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,192 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Violin Sonata No. 1 in C sharp minor, BB 84
2. Violin Sonata No. 2 in C major, BB 85
3. Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano, BB 94a
4. Rhapsody No. 2 for Violin and Piano, BB 96a
5. Andante in A major, BB 26b

Product Description

Product Description

This is the second volume in a series devoted to the works for strings by Béla Bartók, with James Ehnes the featured soloist. Earlier this year, Ehnes recorded the Violin and Viola Concertos (CHAN 10690), which was made Disc of the Month in Gramophone magazine. On this new recording, he turns to the Violin Sonatas and Rhapsodies, complemented by the earliest surviving work by Bartók for violin and piano, an Andante. He is accompanied by the pianist Andrew Armstrong. Dedicated to the Hungarian violinist Adila dArányi, the sonatas for violin and piano were composed in 1921 22, around the same time as the highly successful ballet score The Miraculous Mandarin. Of the two works, the Sonata in C sharp minor is the more traditional in terms of its structure, and characterised by a mood that is sometimes exhilarated, sometimes turbulent but always virtuosic. The finale builds from a series of increasingly wild dances, folk-like in style but entirely expressionistic. In the Sonata in C major, Bartók removes himself from classical form and traditional tonal practice, calling on the violinist to distance himself from the romantic manner of playing. At several points, for example, the violin is played without vibrato, producing an ethereally cool and distant sound. The improvisatory character is strong throughout, as the work repeatedly alternates between the quiet and thoughtful, and the stormy and strident. The ending, in contrast to the earlier sonata, is understated, emotional, and expressive. Bartóks two rhapsodies for piano and violin, dedicated respectively to Joseph Szigeti and Zoltán Székely, are steeped in the tradition of Hungarian folk music. Exuberant and infectious, the works are heavily inspired by the csárdás, the national dance of Hungary, and display the traditional pairing of lassú (slow) and friss (lively) movements.

Review

James Ehnes brings plenty of spice, swagger and spirited folk-like energy to Bartok's two rhapsodies, ending the first of them with a return to the slow music of the start but recording on a separate track Bartok's more agitated alternative final bars. Partnered with piquancy and vitality by Andrew Armstrong, Ehnes is thoroughly in his element here, as he is in the two sonatas, both musicians blending subtlety of nuance with evocative colour and animated passion. ***** --Daily Telegraph,04/02/12

Ehnes and Armstrong provide an exceedingly generous programme, expertly engineered, well planned, beautifully executed. --Gramophone,Mar'12

Gideon Kremer's incendiary accounts of these works are an interpretive benchmark, while those by Isabelle Faust launched her career in impressive fashion, yet Ehnes is no less probing and benefits from undoubtedly the best recorded balance between violin and piano. A second volume...is keenly awaited. --IRR,Feb'12

Performances of outstanding musical insight and technical brilliance. Performance***** Recording***** --BBC Music Magazine,Mar'12

James Ehnes brings to the two rhapsodies a superheated tonal intensity. He can be delicate of course, and has real rhythmic bite, but this is red-blooded playing, the bow quarrying into the string to match the rich and varied vibrato, and when Ehnes is in full flow high in the G string or dashing off handfuls of double-stops it's thrilling stuff. --The Strad, Apr'12

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By outdoors del on 10 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
James is one of my favourite vionlists, He always produces a fabulous warm tone from his Strad. Technically he is amazing (I heard him live recently at the Wigmore Hall) and that is coupled with supreme musicianship. But I think this CD needs to be sampled in small doses as an all Bartok programme can be quite hard going.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
SOME LITTLE KNOWN BARTOK IN AN AUTHORITATIVE PERFORMANCE 11 April 2013
By dwight E. Dyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album furnishes violinists and concert managers with a guide to future programming.
Some of the material, which is little known, truly reveals Bartok's early folk music interests.
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