Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto, Op. 35 [34:29]
Sérénade Mélancolique, Op. 26 [9:16]
Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34 [8:58]
Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op. 42 [16:48]
James Ehnes (violin)
Sydney Symphony/Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor, pianist in Souvenir)
rec. Sydney Opera House, December 2010
ONYX 4076 [69:43]

Experience Classicsonline

Back in 2009 I was lucky enough to hear James Ehnes performing the Tchaikovsky concerto in Edinburgh with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (see review). That night has stuck in my memory, even though I’ve heard the concerto a few times since. I commented then that Ehnes was an unshowy musician who nevertheless manages feats of breathtaking virtuosity that make the violin pulsate with life. It’s possible that, as a result of that evening, I listened to this recording through rose-tinted speakers, but I found this disc a marvellous experience, both technically and musically, and it has already qualified as one of my discs of the year.
 
There are lots of ways to read the Tchaikovsky concerto. Elsewhere I’ve complained about Russian musicians who play this music as if it were raw, untamed passion, emanating straight from the Steppes. There’s an element of that, but that neglects the composer’s love of classicism and his westward-looking refinement. Ehnes has embraced that side of Tchaikovsky. The key word that characterises his playing is grace. Right from the off, his playing glows with such beauty that the violin seems to have a singing quality that suits this music right to the core. This comes into its own in the Canzonetta, but it fits the first movement just as well. The great architecture of this movement ebbs and flows with a beautiful sense of movement, helped by Ashkenazy’s conducting which is controlled and solid without ever imposing a straitjacket. The lyrical sweep of the main subject bursts onto the scene majestically when we hear it in the big tutti at the end of the exposition, but when it first enters Ehnes plays it with an almost withdrawn subtlety that not only introduces it but gives it somewhere to go, a space in which to develop. When we get to the skittish variation of the main theme at the start of the development, he seems to dance around it, playfully turning it over to explore the possibilities of where it could go next. Some may complain that the cadenza lacks an edge of daring, but it’s entirely of a piece with Ehnes’ reading, and if it’s spectacle you’re after then you’ll find it in the finale. Ashkenazy gives a reading of restraint and beauty throughout, but he allows the orchestra to let its hair down in this movement so that there is a flair of Russian pizzazz to the fireworks. The players of the Sydney Symphony play with similar beauty and refinement. It helps that the Onyx engineers have done an outstanding job in capturing the recorded sound with just the right amount of bloom and presence that makes it come alive while avoiding any extraneous noise. This is the finest reading of the concerto that I have come across in a very long time, and I urge lovers of the work to hear it.
 
Elsewhere there are just as many delights on offer. Ehnes shows another side of himself with the Valse-Scherzo, sharpening his technique and providing much bolder attack, while allowing more room for humour and swing. The Sérénade Mélancolique shows the same beauty as his approach to the concerto, only with a still more wistful, contemplative air. Ashkenazy proves a most sensitive accompanist in the Souvenir d’un lieu cher, which begins with a soulful Méditation which was the planned original slow movement of the violin concerto. It’s an attractive piece, very soulful and, to my ears, rather more Russian-sounding than the concerto’s Canzonetta. The central Scherzo is good fun, but the closing Mélodie is lovely, Tchaikovsky at his most sentimental, and it’s bound to appeal to anyone who doesn’t have a heart of stone. It sets the seal on a wonderful survey of the composer’s works for violin, worthy to set alongside Ehnes’ other excellent recordings for Onyx. This is an altogether outstanding disc.
 
Simon Thompson
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.