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Britten, Shostakovich: Violin Concertos - James Ehnes

3.3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, 3 Jun 2013
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Product details

  • Conductor: Kirill Karabits
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten, Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (3 Jun. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Onyx Classics
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,752 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

After a series of critically acclaimed recordings on ONYX, most recently of the Mendelssohn (ONYX4060) and the Tchaikovsky concertos (ONYX4076), James Ehnes teams up with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and its charismatic music director, Kirill Karabits, in Violin Concertos by Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich. The Britten an early work, was completed in the September of 1939, just as World War II broke out. Britten had already composed 'Our Hunting Fathers' in 1935 (words by W.H Auden), and this work s ferocious condemnation of political extremism and man s inhumanity can to some extent be detected in the concerto. The barbarity of the Spanish Civil War (the concerto was written for the young Spanish violinist Antonio Brosa), the rise of Hitler s Nazis and the persecution of the Jews appalled Britten. Peace and reconciliation was his credo, as exemplified in the later 'War Requiem'. In the scherzo tuba and piccolos present the listener with an image of the horrifying abyss mankind was lurching towards. The first of Shostakovich s two violin concertos was composed in 1948 for David Oistrakh. It had to wait until 1955 for its premiere due to the ban on serious music by the notorious Zhdanov Conference and Party Decree of 1948. Only patriotic music was allowed. With Stalin s death in 1953 Shostakovich was finally able to exert his artistic freedom. It is a truly symphonic work in scale, grand, dramatic and cast in four movements with a huge cadenza placed before the finale. Only in the finale does the sun burst out in a brilliant helter-skelter coda.


**** James Ehnes s sinewy tonal lustre, dazzling technique and Perlman-like ability to soar whenever a decent melody comes along, works wonders in the Britten ... a highly compelling musical journey. --Julian Haylock, Sinfini 6 June 2013

James Ehnes is a very fine violinist and there is barley a moment here when his playing is anything but silken in tone and sinuously refined. --Richard Fairman, Gramophone - August 2013

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12 August 2015
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4 June 2013
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3 June 2013
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