James Ehnes: Barber Korngold Walton Concertos
Canadian violinist James Ehnes opens his sixth CD for CBC Records with Korngold's magnificent violin concerto. It is the first of three deeply romantic concertos from the mid Twentieth century, recorded in the acclaimed acoustics of the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, with the Vancouver Symphony under music director Bramwell Tovey. As one of Hollywood's busiest composers of film scores, Erich Korngold was at the top of his profession. He wrote 17 major film scores, including two Academy award winners. Korngold's 1947 Violin Concerto turns inward to the lush melodies and plush orchestrations he knew so well from his work in the studios. It opens with a glorious melody that captures the very soul of the violin itself and was a good fit for the works earliest champion, Jascha Heifet. Praised internationally for his sweetly singing tone and technical brilliance, Ehnes also includes his first recording of the Walton Concerto. "Mr. Ehnes can really play," raved the New York Sun after Ehnes made his début with the New York Philharmonic earlier this year, playing this concerto: "from the violinist, Walton requires gobs of lyricism, and Mr. Ehnes provided them. Seldom will you hear such singing on a violin. He was utterly seamless. Mr. Ehnes's sound was focused, sweet -- but it was never sugary. Technically, Mr. Ehnes seemed capable of anything. And he showed admirable understanding of Walton's music." James Ehnes rounds out this latest CD with the 1939 Violin Concerto by the American composer Samuel Barber, one of the most popular and lyrical of Twentieth century violin concertos.