James Ehnes (violin) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Manze
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto represents the supreme challenge for violinists. Far from being a virtuoso display piece, this is chamber music on a large scale, the last and greatest ‘classical’ violin concerto, giving the soloist no place to hide with a solo part that is often very exposed against sparse orchestral accompaniment.
A lukewarm reception at the concerto’s premiere in 1806 led to it being forgotten until Joseph Joachim resurrected it in the 1850s and restored to its rightful position as one of the greatest and most popular concertos for the instrument. This is James Ehnes’ first recording of this concerto, and he is supported sensitively by the award winning RLPO and fellow violinist-turned-conductor, Andrew Manze. The combination of soloist, orchestra and conductor on this recording is a dream team.
- - - - -
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 42:56
I. Allegro ma non troppo 23:24
II. Larghetto 9:40
III. Rondo. Allegro 9:52
Beethoven: Romance No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra in G major, Op. 40 6:40
Beethoven: Romance No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra in F major, Op. 50 8:08
Schubert: Rondo in A Major for Violin & Orchestra, D. 438: Adagio – Allegro giusto 13:33
- - - - -
The rich, warm sound of the RLPO strings here may come as a surprise, though it’s a perfect complement to the soloist’s sweet-toned, Apollonian approach...Technically, Ehnes’s playing is a marvel... But, really, it’s his – and Manze’s – thoughtfulness and patience that make this recording so satisfying...Ehnes and Manze have given us a Beethoven Concerto to stand among the very best.
15th October 2017
Any danger of a routine account of this popular concerto is instantly dispelled by the freshness and colour of the opening bars...Ehnes’s fluent playing has similar virtues. In his hands, the finale’s repeated main theme is always a delight, so perfectly articulated.
2nd November 2017 4 stars
His playing may be understated, but it is as secure and eloquent in the tricksy Kreisler cadenzas as it is in the unadorned melodies of the slow movement, and every note has something to sing about... Manze draws out a fine Beethoven sound from the modern instruments of the Royal Liverpool Phil, strong yet transparent, and they play their socks off in support.